Thin slices of tender beef immersed in a flavorful tomato sauce are the star of this classic, Italian dish. Simple, quick, and easy, it packs a ton of flavor. A favorite recipe from my childhood.
Song of the day: All I know So Far - Pink
I have never been a meat eater. However, a few meat dishes were on my mamma's sleeves to make me eat it. One of them was 'Fettine alla Pizzaiola'.
Fettine alla pizzaiola
A classic recipe, famous in Rome and all Southern Italy, 'fettine alla pizzaiola' can be translated into "pizza-style meat". Where "fettine" means "thin slices of meat", and "alla pizzaiola" means "as done by the pizza-makers" (hello tomato sauce and oregano!). And there you have it, the essence of the dish: tender meat fillets meet a simple, yet rich and flavorful tomato sauce.
Consequently, a quick call to my mom prior to making the dish, just to confirm the -few- ingredients:
- beef -or veal- fillets (we used sirloin beef, pounded with a meat tenderizer; my mom would have used veal instead)
- evo oil
- baby Roma or San Marzano tomatoes, or any good quality canned tomatoes. In the summer, you can chop up ripe fresh tomatoes.
- salt and pepper
- dried oregano (according to my mom, instead of oregano you could use fresh chopped parsley)
Easy and delicious
- First, use a meat tenderizer to thin out the fillets. Place a plastic wrap, bottom and top, and pound gently the fillets in both width and length direction creating a nice oval.
- Secondly, drizzle olive oil to nicely coat the bottom of a sauté pan. Add garlic and turn the heat to high. When the garlic starts to sizzle, place the beef fillets without overlapping and leave space in between. Sear them quickly on each side. They should be just lightly caramelized, about 1 minute a side.
- Thirdly, remove the slices as they brown and place them on a dish.
Then lower the heat, slowly pour the tomatoes into the pan that the beef was cooked in, and lightly break them up with a wooden spoon or a potato masher, or better yet with your hands prior to them going in the pan. (In the summer, you can use ripe fresh tomatoes). Season with salt, pepper and a nice sprinkling of dried oregano. Slightly cover allowing the steam to escape, and let simmer for a minute or two.
- Fourthly, place the beef fillets into the sauce, immersing them so they are covered with all that lovely flavor.
- Continue to simmer on low-medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the meat is fully cooked through.
- Lastly, place in a serving platter covered by all the sauce. Serve with your favorite side, and a good rustic crusty bread.
On the whole, Mamma's Easy and Delicious Fettine alla Pizzaiola, is a fast, and tasty dish. A great meal that pairs well with a good salad, sauteed kale, stove top lemon asparagus, swiss chard, or cicoria (dandelion greens). In reality, what you really need is a good crusted bread to soak up the juices (something we Italians call fare la scarpetta).
Easy and Delicious, Mamma's Fettine alla Pizzaiola
All in all, this is one of those Italian dishes that stand the test of time. Simple, flavorful, and a crowd pleaser. The meat is tender and just melts in your mouth, the sauce has a richness that just begs to be scooped up with some bread or also, dress some pasta with the extra sauce!
Hope you try it and let us know how you liked it!Print