Steak Pizzaiola is a hearty Italian steak recipe cooked “pizza style”. There are so many ways to make this dish. I’ll show you a great one that’s similar to the way many New York Italian restaurants do it.
My mother made this dish so many times growing up. She made it with affordable cuts of meat, like chuck steak or thin slices of top or bottom round, pounded out. The sauce would absorb into the meat while cooking in the oven. Her Pizzaiola sauce had a lot of garlic, peppers, basil and a touch of wine.
The “carne pizzaiola” and the delicious sauce were served over white rice and a garlicky green veggie on the side. It was a simple, affordable dish. The recipe used beef that was cooked all the way through and simmered in the sauce for 20-30 minutes. Mine is quite different and is meant to be more like the one you would find at your local Italian restaurant.
When I say “local restaurant”, I’m referring to restaurants in the New York metro area. I would imagine my mother’s steak pizzaiola recipe more closely resembles the one you would find in Italy. Her mother, Mary Leone, whose family hails from southern Italy, made it many times with thin cuts of beef. No doubt it was probably a pretty regular dish for them. One day I’ll provide that recipe too, but for now on to mine.
Steak Pizzaiola Restaurant Style
Though I love my mother’s version, I like to make recipes my own. I encourage you to do the same! Use our recipes as a general guide and adapt them to your family’s preference and taste! Like more garlic or wine? Don’t like mushrooms? Maybe you love a bunch of cherry peppers in it. Go for it!
My version substitutes chuck steak for sirloin steak. Sirloin steak is still quite affordable and really makes the dish special. It also works quite well for a group. Now, if you want to go crazy, use a prime ribeye, porterhouse, or tomahawk steak.
The famous Italian restaurant Rao’s in Harlem serves pizzaiola sauce over a prime ribeye steak. Many family-style Italian restaurants will serve it with a large porterhouse as well. Anyway, let’s get on to the ingredients…
Steak Pizzaiola Ingredient List:
- 2 pound sirloin steak – Feel free to get a larger one. The steak will be cooked to proper temperature regardless of size.
- 1 large bell pepper – Any color is fine.
- 8 ounces button mushrooms – Baby portobello mushrooms work well too.
- 1 large onion
- 28 ounce can San Marzano plum tomatoes – Always buy quality tomatoes.
- 1/2 cup white wine – Pinot Grigio or other dry white wine.
- 1/2 cup low sodium beef stock – To give it extra beefy flavor.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic – chopped in half.
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- parsley, basil – These herbs are nice but not essential for this dish.
How To Make Steak Pizzaiola Step By Step:
- Picture of plum tomatoes, mushrooms, bell pepper, onion and garlic.
- Remove steak from refrigerator at least 1/2 hour before cooking. Season the sirloin steak with about 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1/2 tsp of black pepper. Properly seasoning any steak is crucial. Aim for about 3/4-1 tsp of kosher salt per pound of beef.
- Clean the mushrooms of their dirt, then slice.
- Core and cut the pepper into 1/2″ thick strips. Slice the onion into strips as well.
- I love beef base when needing a little bit of stock. Mix up 1/2 cup of beef stock or use boxed stock. Of course use homemade if you have it on hand!
- Crush the tomatoes by hand or pulse in a blender for a second. Preheat oven to 400f.
- Heat a large heavy duty steel or cast iron pan to medium-high heat. After the pan is hot add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and sear the sirloin steak for 2-3 minutes per side. The steak should be plenty rare in the middle. Set the steak aside. It will be finished in the pizzaiola sauce later.
- To the same pan lower heat to medium and add 3 more Tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes until golden. Remove garlic and set aside.
- Add the peppers, onions, and mushrooms and saute for 7-10 minutes until soft.
- Add the oregano and crushed red pepper. After the veggies are cooked through add the wine and beef stock. Cook for 2 minutes on high to cook off the alcohol.
- Turn heat to around medium-low. Add the crushed tomatoes and cooked garlic and cook for 5 minutes to make the pizzaiola sauce. After 5 minutes it is important to taste test the sauce and adjust salt, pepper, and/or crushed red pepper if using.
- Slice the steak into 1 inch thick strips and place into the pan with the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the steak and place the pan in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Cook until steak achieves desired doneness. To be certain use an instant read thermometer to check the sirloin. For more info on steak temps check out this Info On Cooking A Steak Properly.
Here’s The Steak Pizzaiola After Finishing It In The Oven
The final dish can be doctored up any way you like. Personally, I like it just like the picture above. The main thing – and I can’t stress it enough – is make sure to properly salt the steak.
Steak Pizzaiola Substitutions And Additions:
Scaloppine alla pizzaiola can be made with the same sauce ingredients. “Scallops” of veal seared then finished in the sauce is a delicious way to make a pizzaiola.
Pork and chicken both are great too. When making this dish with chicken or pork I will pound out thin cutlets and lightly flour them before pan searing. I remove them and let them finish in the sauce right on the stove top. Delicious!
The sauce can be used for a variety of dishes like pizzas or just served in a bowl for bread dipping. And if you want to change up the sauce a bit add chopped basil or any herbs you like. Cherry peppers are excellent in the sauce and many places serve it that way.
Grated or shaved parmigiano reggiano or pecorino on top is excellent, as is some chopped kalamata olives, capers, anchovies, or sundried tomatoes. There are so many options with this dish!
On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being easy this recipe is a 3. There’s a couple steps that are important:
- Steak – Make sure to remove the steak from the fridge before cooking for about 1 hour. Season the steak with enough salt. Aim for 3/4-1 tsp of salt per pound of meat. Thick cuts of meat need a lot of salt.
- Temperature of steak – aim for 135 for medium-rare steak. If using an instant read thermometer take the steak pizzaiola out of the oven at 130f. The temp will raise up another 5 degrees to achieve 135f or medium rare from the residual heat in the pan.
- Garlic – After sauteing the garlic make sure to remove it from the pan so as not to burn it when sauteing the onions, mushrooms, and peppers for the next 10 minutes. Return the garlic to the pan with the plum tomatoes if desired. Many people do not like the pieces of garlic in the dish but do what you like. I personally love it and always use a lot of garlic.
- If after cooking the steak in the oven and it’s still too rare, just cook it a few more minutes. Simple as that!
What To Serve With Steak Pizzaiola:
Pizzaiola sauce goes well over plain white rice or some pasta. I recommend doubling the sauce ingredients if making pasta. Just remove half the sauce for your pasta before finishing the sirloin steak in the oven.
- Green Beans Almondine With Feta – Easy and delicious side that can be made real quick.
- Italian Vegetables With Lemon Caper Sauce – Balances out the hearty steak.
- Sauteed Zucchini With Burrata – Another great veggie side dish.
Other Italian Main Course Recipes:
- Chicken Sorrentino
- Shrimp Oreganata
- Swordfish Steaks With Olives And Capers
- Beef Braciole
- Pasta Fagioli
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- 2 pound sirloin steak
- 1 large bell pepper
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms
- 1 large onion
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 28 ounce can plum tomatoes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup low sodium beef stock
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Remove steak from refrigerator at least 1/2 hour before cooking. Preheat oven to 400f. Crush by hand or pulse blend the plum tomatoes. Chop garlic cloves in half. Slice peppers and onions into strips. Clean dirt off mushrooms and slice.
- Season steak with 1.5-2 tsp of kosher salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper on all sides. Heat large heavy steel or cast iron pan to medium-high heat. When pan is hot (about 2 minutes) add 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Sear steak for 2-3 minutes per side then remove and set aside.
- Lower pan heat to medium and add 3 more Tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes until golden. Remove garlic from pan then add peppers, onions and mushrooms. Saute for 7-10 minutes until soft. Add the oregano and crushed red pepper and stir.
- Add the beef stock and wine and turn heat to high for 2 minutes to cook off the alcohol. After 2 minutes reduce heat to medium low and add the tomatoes to the pan and stir together. Add the garlic if desired or discard. Let the sauce cook for 5 minutes then taste test and adjust salt or pepper if necessary.
- Slice the steak into 1" thick strips and place in the sauce pan spooning some of it on top. Place pan in oven and cook until desired doneness. Cook to 130 internal for medium rare which should take 5-10 minutes in the oven.
- When done remove from oven and serve with chopped fresh herbs like basil or parsley if desired. Also add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top and serve with crusty Italian bread for the sauce. Enjoy!
- Sirloin steak is used but any type of steak like ribeye, porterhouse, NY strip, etc will work.
- 2 tsp of kosher salt is added to the steak to properly season it. No extra salt was added to the sauce so adjust according to personal preference.
- The sauce can easily be doubled for pasta. If doing so, remove some of the sauce before the final finishing of the steak in the oven.