If you go to Da Michele, the Neapolitan pizzeria made famous in Julia Robert’s Eat, Pray, Love, you will have a choice between one of two pizzas. The Margherita, considered by many to be the traditional Neapolitan pizza, or its predecessor, the true classic Neapolitan pizza, the Marinara.
Topped simply with tomato, garlic, oregano, and extra virgin olive oil, it is a flavourful marinara sauce that has become a Neapolitan staple and that has found its way into other dishes.
Like peanut butter and chocolate, somewhere along the line, someone decided to marry this marinara sauce with a small bit of meat. And in true Cucina Povera Napoletana fashion, an inexpensive cut of meat and a few tomatoes were transformed into a delicious meat infused sauce for the primo piatto, and a hardy secondo, Carne alla Pizzaiola, or meat in the style of the pizzaiolo.
Like any good marriage, the meat is the foundation of the dish, imparting its beefy goodness into the sauce. But it is the sauce, that is the hero of the dish. And like any good wife, it smooths out the rough edges and tenderises even the most grizzly cuts of meat.
The secret of the sauce lies in the tomatoes. The Pomodorini del Piennolo del Vesuvio, cherry like tomatoes that are cultivated in the area around Vesuvius National Park and are hung outside for several months.
But even without them, Carne alla Pizzaiola can be reproduced with great success and the choice of ingredients is entirely yours. Use fresh cherry or plum tomatoes or canned peeled, whole or diced tomatoes.
Choose pork, beef or veal. Bone out or use bone in for added flavour. Slowly braise the less expensive cuts long enough to tenderise them. Or use more expensive cuts for a dish that can be whipped up in a matter of minutes.
4 – 1/2 inch thick steaks
500 Grams Fresh Tomatoes or one 15 oz Can of Tomatoes
1 -2 Cloves Peeled Garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Heat oil over medium heat in a large pan and add garlic
Cook until tender and remove from the pan
Rub a generous amount of oregano into both sides of the steaks
Sear the steaks on both sides and remove them from the pan
Add the tomatoes to the pan and more oregano and salt to taste
Cook the tomatoes 10 to 15 minutes, breaking the tomatoes up with a fork as they soften
Add the steaks to the sauce and cook them on low until they are very tender (cooking time will depend on the cut of meat)
Remove the steaks to a serving dish and top them with the sauce