For my recent graduation, I was given an amazing book put out by Williams-Sonoma called Essentials of Mediterranean Cooking. I haven’t even scoured the whole book yet to pick and choose recipes, but tonight, I’d had steaks in the fridge and wanted something fun and new to do with them. So I looked through this book and found the recipe for Bistecca alla Pizzaiola, aka Steak Pizzaiola, and it looked fairly simple. I’d never eaten it before, but I had heard it talked about by Marie in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. So I decided to give it a try, especially since one of the ingredients in it is red pepper flakes, which I have come to love recently thanks to a recipe in the Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook, which I will make soon and post here because it’s amazing.
But this one first!
First off, proof that I have this wonderful book that I look forward to cooking many of the recipes in:
1 1/2 lb boneless chuck shoulder steak, about 3/4 inch thick; I used two top sirloin steaks
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp EVOO
1 can plum (Roma) tomatoes, drained and chopped; I used two fresh roma tomatoes, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced; I used about 1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
The first thing I did was trim as much of the fat off the steaks as possible; at least, the big pieces. Neither the Roommate or I like biting down into big pieces of meat fat. Bit of a turn off. But after I trimmed the fat, I tenderized the f*ck out of the steaks. I have found that this is the secret trick to making sure that beef is tender and melt in your mouth for dishes like this one or all Asian dishes involving sauce and yum. Seriously, do yourself a favor — if you don’t already have a nice, heavy metal meat tenderizer, buy one. You’ll thank me later. Once you’ve tenderized the meat, set it on a platter and sprinkle with the sea salt and cracked black pepper. Set aside.
Okay, from here on out, I’m going to type the recipe straight from the book.
In a frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the beef and cook, turning once, until browned well on both sides, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate.
Add the tomatoes to the pan and stir, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan (I just used a regular plastic spoon — it works just the same). Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Return the beef to the pan, along with any accumulated juices. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the meat is tender when cut into with a sharp knife, about 45 minutes. Uncover the pan to turn the meat several times and to check on the sauce. If it is becoming too dry, add water as needed, 1/4 cup at a time.
To serve, transfer the meat to a warmed platter or individual plates. Season the sauce to taste with salt and black pepper and spoon it generously over the meat. Serve at once. Or, if you want a thicker sauce, raise the heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, until it reaches the desired consistency.
Now, what I made to go with the steak pizzaiola was essentially just angel hair pasta, cooked to al dente, over which I drizzled then mixed melted butter. It went on the plate with the steaks and some of the sauce over the pasta. It was extremely yummy. And it was extremely easy.