Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bistecca Pizzaiola

This is a wonderful traditional Italian recipe!
     I have cooked a few hundred steak pizzaiola entrees in Italian fine dining restaurants in the past.  It takes a good steak that is aged and top quality plum tomatoes to make this recipe as it was intended.
     I have posted many different traditional Italian tomato sauce recipes in my recipe blog so far.  Each different style of tomato sauce is well suited to a particular kind of pasta or meat.  This pizzaiola sauce is a tomato sauce that is meant to be served with beef steak.  Pizzaiola sauce is a la minute cooking (cooked to order).  The fond that is stuck to the pan that the steak was cooked in is a key flavor for this sauce.
     Recipe:  Trim the excess fat and gristle from an aged 10 to 12 ounce New York Strip Steak.  Season the steak lightly with sea salt and black pepper.
     Heat a saute pan over medium high heat.
     Add a splash of olive oil.
     Place the steak in the pan.
     Pan sear the steak on both sides of the steak, till it is almost cooked to the temperature of your preference. 
     Remove the steak and set it aside.
     Keep the steak warm on a stove top.
     Add a tiny splash of virgin olive oil to the hot saute pan.
     Add 2 cloves of minced garlic. 
     Saute till the garlic turns a golden color.
     Add 3 to 4 top quality imported canned Italian whole peeled plum tomatoes packed in their own juices that have been coarsely chopped.  (Simply remove 3 or 4 plum tomatoes from the can and coarsely chop them.) 
     Add a a generous splash of the tomato juice from the can.
     Stir and scrape to fond that is stuck in the pan into the sauce.  (The bits stuck to the pan from the steak.)
     Add a pinch of crushed red  pepper.
     Add a pinch of oregano.
     Add 4 or 5 whole fresh basil leaves.
     Add 4 or 5 whole fresh parsley leaves. 
     Add sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper.
     Add about 2 tablespoons of Italian plum tomato puree.
     Stir the sauce and reduce it quickly, till a full bodied pizzaiola tomato sauce is formed.  (The sauce should not look watery or thin.  The sauce should be bright and shiny with a medium consistency.)
     Cut the steak into thin slices thin using a 45 degree bias slicing method. 
     Fan out the steak slices on a plate in a semi circle shape. 
     Spoon the pizzaiola sauce generously over the edge of the steak slices. 
     Serve with buttered steamed potato slices, broccoli and shiitake mushroom caps. 
     Garnish with a fresh basil top sprig.
     Some restaurants I cooked in, served bistecca pizzaiola with a twist of fettucini pasta and a little bit of the pizzaiola sauce spooned over the noodles.  Italians don't always eat pasta on every single plate!  Sometimes a simple buttered potato is preferred.  Especially when the pizzaiola sauce is meant for the steak and not the pasta.  Believe me, you will want every bit of the pizzaiola sauce to go with the steak after you taste the sauce!  The flavor of pizzaiola sauce is bold and zesty!  Pizzaiola sauce is not meant to be cooked ahead of time.  The sharpness of fresh herbs, garlic, red pepper and tomato is what makes pizzaiola sauce great with steak.  Ciao Baby!  ... Shawna

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