Food & Drink

How to add pizza flavor to nearly anything

Chicago Tribune

Pizzaiola, a brightly flavored sauce with the flavors of pizza, is made with tomatoes, olive oil, garlic dried oregano and a little salt. That’s it.
Pizzaiola, a brightly flavored sauce with the flavors of pizza, is made with tomatoes, olive oil, garlic dried oregano and a little salt. That’s it. Chicago Tribune

Pizzaiola is Italian for a pizza-style tomato sauce. Sounds straightforward, right? Well, the recipe is. It usually starts with chopped tomatoes cooked with olive oil, garlic, a pinch of salt and some dried oregano. That’s it.

It’s important to note that, as Michele Scicolone explains in “1,000 Italian Recipes,” the sauce can’t be used on pizza, “since the extreme heat of wood-fired Neapolitan pizza ovens would overcook an already cooked sauce.” Instead, it’s just supposed to be reminiscent of the sauce you put on pizza.

Pork chops, pizza-maker’s style

Prep time 15 minutes, cook time 30 minutes.

Known in Italian as braciole alla pizzaiola, this recipe is from Michele Scicolone’s “1,000 Italian Recipes.”

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 thick-cut pork chops, about 1 inch thick

Salt and black pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained, chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season chops with salt and pepper. Add chops, and brown on both sides, about 2 minutes a side. Remove chops to a plate and set aside.

Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in tomatoes, oregano and crushed red pepper. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until thick, about 20 minutes.

Add the chops to the tomato sauce, and cook until internal temperature is 140 degrees, about 5 minutes. Taste sauce, and add more salt if needed, probably  1/2 teaspoon.

Transfer chops to a platter. Spoon on some of the tomato sauce, and sprinkle with parsley.

Per serving: 269 calories, 15 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 67 mg cholesterol, 9 g carbohydrates, 5 g sugar, 23 g protein, 489 mg sodium, 2 g fiber

Serves 4.

Short ribs pizzaiola

Prep time 20 minutes, cook time 2 hours.

From “Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine” by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali, this recipe is called costolette di manzo alla pizzaiola in Italian.

4 pounds beef short ribs

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves, crushed

2 cups dry red wine

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand

2 cups chicken stock

3 medium onions, chopped

3 bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange), stemmed, seeded, sliced into 2-inch strips

Sprinkle short ribs all over with 1 teaspoon of salt. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add short ribs and garlic; cook until meat is browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove short ribs; set aside. Discard the garlic. Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.

Add the wine. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, tomatoes and 2 cups chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil over high heat; return short ribs to pot. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, 1 hour.

Add onions; simmer, 15 minutes. Add bell peppers; simmer, 15 minutes, or until the meat is tender.

Per serving: 347 calories, 19 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 73 mg cholesterol, 15 g carbohydrates, 8 g sugar, 27 g protein, 835 mg sodium, 3 g fiber

Squid pizzaiola

Prep time 10 minutes, cook time 18 minutes.

Developed by Tribune reporter Nick Kindelsperger.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes, chopped

1 pound squid, cleaned

Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add oregano, red pepper, salt and tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes reduce into a thick sauce, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the squid bodies into 1/4-inch rings. When sauce is thick, add the squid pieces; cook, stirring often, until squid is just cooked, about 2 minutes. Don’t overcook the squid, or it will turn rubbery. Serve over cooked spaghetti or another pasta, if you like.

Per serving: 188 calories, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 264 mg cholesterol, 8 g carbohydrates, 2 g sugar, 19 g protein, 553 mg sodium, 1 g fiber

Serves 4

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