Friday, December 6, 2013

Fast Friday: Bistecca alla Pizzaiola (steaks pizza style)

It's Friday!  And, on this fabulous Friday, I approach you sheepishly and ask for your forgiveness.

For what?

For keeping this recipe from you for much too long.

I could say it was an accident.  That I didn't plan on hoarding this recipe.  That I did everything in my power to share this deliciousness with you, come Hell or high water.  But my silence was very much intentional.

When I first made this, it seemed too simple to warrant an official recipe and proper blog post.  Sure was delicious and knocked our socks off, though.

The second time I made it, I knew just how tasty it would be but failed to photograph it.  Story of my life, right?

It was a quick weeknight meal, made while I was knee-deep in testing Thanksgiving recipes.  We needed a break from biscuits and pie, and I needed a break from blogging.  Despite dining cough at the coffee table in front of the TV cough, I enjoyed my meal so much I could've cried.

And the third time, well, I got my act together and vowed to keep you in the dark no more.

As I become more comfortable with cooking various cuts of beef, I'm learning that less is more.  A good steak can be made with three simple ingredients: salt, pepper, and a little fat.  And a great steak requires only a few more items: a can of tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

The trick is in the cooking method: again, less is more.  Sear, rest, saute, and devour.

On a night when take-out seemed like the best choice, we sat down to an incredible steak dinner made with one pan and in under 20 minutes!  Try and beat that, pizza delivery guy.

There was no fancy plating or formal China since I opted to serve the meal family style.  The pan went from stovetop to tabletop and sat next to a plate of hot and crusty garlic bread.  It doesn't get much easier, does it?

It also doesn't get any better than this, friends.  We enjoyed steaks like this three times in two weeks, and both swore each time tasted even more incredible than the last.  Tender beef in a rich and thick tomato sauce with garlic bread to sop up every last drop of goodness.

When our plates were clean and white as snow, we went after the saute pan with our spoons and more garlic bread.  That's what family style is all about, right?

It may have taken 29 years, but I've officially found my favorite way to eat steaks.  Lo and behold, it's not an American recipe, but an Italian one.  I always said I was adopted by my German and English family and my true roots were in Italy ;)

Three years ago: Nutella kiss cookies
Four years ago: Homemade fruit & nut breakfast bars

Bistecca alla Pizzaiola (Steaks in Pizza Style)
(inspired from various sources/pictures)
-serves 4

A few notes: Any cut of steak will do for this recipe.  In fact, the leaner less expensive cuts of beef will benefit wonderfully from this cooking method.  The sauce will keep the meat moist and tender without the threat of overcooking.  As long as the steaks are under 1-inch thickness.

4 thin-cut bottom round steaks, less than 1-inch thick
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed by hand
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
Red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Garlic bread, optional, for serving

Generously season both sides of steaks with salt and pepper, and 1/2 Tablespoon of the dried oregano.  Pat seasoning into steaks with your hands.

Meanwhile, heat large saute pan on medium high.  (Let the pan get nice and hot here, since you want to sear the steaks.)  Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.  Arrange the steaks in pan and sear about 1 minute on each side.  Remove steaks to a plate and set aside while you make the sauce.

Add 1 Tablespoon oil to the pan and add garlic.  Cook, stirring, until golden and fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Add a heavy pinch of red pepper flakes, remaining 1/2 Tablespoon of oregano, and crushed tomatoes.  Caution: Tomatoes will pop and sizzle at first, so stand back.  Using a wooden spoon, stir sauce and scrape those lovely crusty bits off the bottom of the pan.  Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly (like pizza sauce).

Return steaks to pan and cover with sauce.  Reheat meat, season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove pan from heat and serve with hot garlic bread and enjoy!

Leftover steaks and sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.  (Matt insists they are even better the next day reheated.)

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