Pizzaiola is an Italian fresh tomato sauce traditionally served on top of sirloin steak. It cooks up quickly and can be served over meat that has been seared on the stovetop or grilled outdoors.
This steak pizzaiola is an easy meal that is ready to enjoy in under 30 minutes. It can be served with pasta, polenta, or a lightly dressed arugula salad.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, plus additional for garnish
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak, about 1 inch thick
- Arugula for serving
Gather the ingredients.
In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderate heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, fresh oregano, crushed fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
Note: If desired, a few of the tomatoes can be pierced to allow their juices and pulp to flow out and incorporate into the sauce. Some of the tomatoes may burst on their own as well.
In a large frying pan or cast iron skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over moderate heat. Season both sides of the steak with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
If desired, the steak can also be grilled over medium high heat. When grilling the steak, omit the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Cook the steak over medium high heat for 5 minutes on one side until nicely seared. Turn and cook the other side until the steak has achieved the desired doneness to your taste. This will take about 5 minutes longer for a medium rare steak. Remove the steak and allow it to rest in a warm place for about 5 minutes.
Cut the steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.
Top with the warm tomato sauce and additional sprigs of fresh oregano, if desired. Serve with arugula tossed with additional olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Cutting the Steak: Meat is made up of bundles of long muscle fibers that are laid out parallel to one another. Visually, you will be able to see lines running in one direction, all the way across a piece of meat. After a steak has rested, identify which way the grain runs, then cut the meat perpendicular to the grain. This is done to make the meat as tender and enjoyable as possible. It is sliced against the grain to shorten the muscle fibers as much as possible making it easier to chew. Meat that is cut parallel to the grain will result in long muscle fibers that are tough for your teeth to break through.