I don’t always eat steak, but when I do, I prefer it alla Pizzaiola. And it just has to be ribeye, too. I only eat steak 2-3 times a year, so when I do eat it, I want it to be special. Filet is too lean for me. It’s tender, yes, but it isn’t rich in beef flavor. I like sirloin, but it isn’t marbled as much as I like it. Ribeye to me, is just perfect. Very tender and it has so much flavor from the intense marbling. In other words, it’s nice and fatty.
Alla Pizzaiola simply means “In the style of the pizza makers wife”. It could be because at the end of a night at the pizzeria, there was inevitably some tomato sauce left over. A freebie, it would be brought home and the guys wife would make up something out of the sauce. But, then again, maybe it doesn’t mean that at all. Nobody really knows!
We’ve established that the meat is fatty and juicy, but, what about the sauce? The sauce is what gives it it’s name. It’s called the Pizza Maker’s Wife Sauce, Pizzaiola. It’s tomatoes, garlic and lots of oregano, dried or fresh. It’s savory and piquant. Rich, yet not heavy. Acidic but not tart. It is a perfect counter to the fat of the steak. When I do have steak cooked another way, I am usually disappointed I didn’t just make it like this.
And it could not be easier. I can’t think of too many ways that you can make such an All-Star dish with so little effort or expertise. As long as the ingredients are top notch then you will do great. The prep is quick and it cooks in about 15 minutes. Maybe you are treating yourself to a nice dinner some night just for the heck of it. Maybe you are trying to impress a date. Whatever the reason for cooking it, you always have enough time to do it.
I prep an anchovy filet by rubbing it with the side of a knife to make it a paste. I slice some garlic, chop some tomatoes, get out the capers and some white wine and I am ready to get cooking. Season the steak on both sides with some salt and pepper. Sear it on a high heat for about 3 minutes per side if you like it medium rare. It probably won’t be medium rare yet in that quick a time, but you are going to put it back in the pan when the sauce is prepared and finish cooking it there.
When the steak is nicely browned on both sides, take it out of the pan and get rid of the oil. Don’t clean the pan as you want the brown bits on the bottom to add to the flavor of the sauce. Add some more olive oil to the pan and add your anchovy and garlic. When the garlic is pretty much coated in the anchovy paste, add the white wine, tomatoes and capers. Cover it and let it simmer for about 7 or 8 minutes. When the tomatoes start breaking down, add your steak back in to the pan and cover again cooking it for about 5 minutes or until the desired doneness. I like my oregano fresh so I just sprinkle some leaves into the sauce at this point.
What else can I say about this? You have seen the pictures. If you’re a meat eater, then I am pretty sure you can already tell how delicious it is. All you need is some toasted crusty bread, a glass of red and some good company and conversation.
If you need a side dish, then a perfect and easy one would be potato and fennel baked in foil that I made for the limoncello glazed shrimp.
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- 2 One inch thick ribeye steaks.
- 2 cups of tomatoes chopped or whole grape tomatoes.
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced.
- ¼ cup capers
- 1 anchovy filet, smashed into a paste.
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon fresh or dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat a saute pan on high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Season your steaks and sear them for about 3 minutes per side.
- Remove from pan when both sides are browned.
- Drain oil from pan and add the other tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add anchovy paste and garlic to pan and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the white wine, tomatoes, capers and oregano if using dried. If you are using fresh then wat until the sauce is cooked.
- Turn heat to medium and cover.
- Cook for about 7-8 minutes then add the steaks back to the pan and finish cooking until the desired doneness is reached. Poke the steaks with your finger to check doneness. If they are still soft they are medium rare.
- Remove steaks from pan and spoon sauce over the top.