Name the only vowel not included in that title … To pronounce this you really have to curl your lips around those last four syllables! I wish I spoke Italian.
I first came across this recipe at Granatos Importing Co. in Salt Lake City, Utah, when we lived just south of the city. We used to go up there to get really awesome sandwiches and sundry other items that you just couldn't find on the grocery store shelves in Utah. I made the recipe several times and liked it fine, but was usually disappointed in how the meat turned out. The recipe calls for eye of round, which is a good cut, but the way the recipe instructed it to be cooked left it a bit tough and overdone for my tastes.
I left off cooking this dish for a good period of time, but pulled it out again this week thinking I'd give it another go. I really did love the flavors and wasn't willing to relegate an 'Oldie' to the trash bin. Before I set to work, though, I did a bit of searching online to see how many variations I could find. As with most dishes, I found a minimum of 57 million recipes, all touting the fact that it was the most authentic. No, REALLY! 57 million! I've come to believe that the most authentic one is the one sitting on my table! At least, it's tangible and edible!
One bit of information I gathered that I did not have before is that the term "pizzaiola" simply refers to a sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, and oregano. That's it. Simple and to the point. Furnished with that information, I felt free enough to change the recipe I had from Granatos to create a sauce that I knew we, as a family, would prefer. A simple purée of tomatoes, minced garlic, and juliénned basil.
I always buy whole tomatoes, then purée them myself with a stick blender.
And even though I have a garlic press, more often than not, I put the cloves under the blade of my chef's knife, and pound it pretty hard with my fist. It crushes the clove, releases the skin, and I can easily chop and mince further from there if needed.
Put all three of those things in a pot and let it heat up. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
(Some people prefer to sauté the garlic in olive oil first, then add the tomatoes. Feel free to do that, but be careful of browning the garlic. When garlic is browned, it releases too much bitterness that can really overpower the sauce. Fresh garlic heated slowly is better!)
As for the steak … I did use eye of round again. Rather than sautéing it till the color was gone, then simmering it for another half hour, I chose to simply sauté it in a little olive oil after salting and peppering it.
Next time, I think I'll choose a different cut and maybe even grill it outdoors!
I served it with egg noodles although in my research, I found that penne pasta is more appropriate. I feel it is totally a preference issue. I can imagine it would be quite tasty with any pasta you serve!
The bottom line is this … This dish is basically a deconstructed pizza! The pasta is the crust, the sauce is … well, it's the sauce (!), and the meat is … well, it's the meat!! And you could always top it with a sprinkling of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.
SO, make the sauce you like, serve the pasta you like, and cook the steak you like. And you know what? Then you'll have Steak Pizzaiola!
But in case you don't want to wing it, here's a download for you. ;)