forkEdition #18 / PIZZA AND PIZZAIOLA: ARE THEY RELATED?
[We have a wander around Italy on the hunt for the most typical dishes of our heritage. Which you can also replicate at home, if you fancy. That’s right, because we’re also going to give you the recipe!]
The short answer is yes, though distantly! The dish Carne alla Pizzaiola was inspired by the Pizza Marinara (or Pizza Povera – “poor pizza”), which is the most simple pizza ever because it is made with only tomatoes, garlic and oregano. These are the same ingredients used to make Pizzaiola: Pizza... Pizza-iola!
The garlic sizzling in the oil, the rich tomato sauce, the oregano embodying the aroma of summer and the Mediterranean... I couldn’t say which smell most reminds me of Naples and its historic centre, centred around the Quartieri Spagnoli and Spaccanapoli – the corridor-esque street that splits the city in two, from west to east.
Among period residences, famous and beautiful churches (Santa Chiara, Gesù Nuovo, San Domenico Maggiore...), and baroque squares, Spaccanapoli is like a stage graced by the city of yesterday. And it is also where the city of today lives, too – the one that enchants tourists, bursting with sounds, colours, smells...
Speaking of which, back to our Pizzaiola: a recipe that is very quick and easy to make and a real dinner saver! All you need is some tomato sauce, garlic and oregano – even dried oregano will do: simple ingredients for us Italians, but easily available anywhere in the world.
Ready? Let’s learn how to make a delicious, speedy Pizzaiola!
[preparation time: half an hour]
Ingredients [serves 4]
- 400 g slices of veal (silverside or top side, the perfect cut used for Picanha)
- 400 g of tomato sauce (NOT peeled tomatoes, mind you)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Oregano (to taste)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt (to taste)
- Black pepper (to taste)
A quick disclaimer: I know from the grandmother of a childhood friend [oh, how I would stuff myself every time she invited me to lunch...] that the traditional recipe recommends a long cooking time – the sauce nice and thick, the meat almost melting...
But since we all lead busy lives that leave little room for slow cooking, I’m offering this quick alternative: it’s all in the cut of meat!
Let’s get started! First, we prepare our tomato sauce, similar to this one, but without onion: Pizzaiola with onion would be a sacrilege!
A quick tip: leave the skin of the garlic on – this is a neat trick to preserve the aroma without upsetting your digestion... And another tip! Only add the salt, pepper and oregano after cooking, before chowing down on the meat.
You can cook the sauce for Pizzaiola in as little as a quarter of an hour – just long enough for it to thicken slightly: you need to let it simmer without a lid, as it projects drops of tomato sauce here, there and everywhere – yes, once it’s ready, you’ll have to get to work with a cleaning cloth and some detergent.
But before we think about cleaning, let’s turn our attention to the meat: cut the edges of each slice here and there to prevent them from curling up as they cook and dehydrate. Spread them out between two sheets of baking paper and lightly tenderise them: they should be a maximum of 2-3 cm thick.
After seasoning the sauce and removing the garlic, place the slices of meat on the bottom of the pan, immersing them in the tomato sauce. Cook them for a couple of minutes on each side, finish with a sprinkling of oregano and voila... your Pizzaiola is ready!
Just one Hamlet-style question remains: pasta or bread? The sauce used for Pizzaiola is indeed perfect to dress a nice plate of Spaghetti, but it is equally tasty when mopped up with bread. All you need is some good homemade bread. The choice is yours!
Buon appetito! 💗