What can I say. This dish did not disappoint. It is easy, delicious, and quick. Plus for anyone on a budget it’s fairly inexpensive to pull together. Even though we made this the Sunday Dinner centerpiece, it’s a dish so effortless it’s officially one of my go to dishes now for a week day dinner or to enjoy with guests. I pulled this from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan, for many the standard for Italian cooking.
I am not sure about that. I am still saving that honor for Elizabeth David who’s books first taught me to cook. But in Marcella’s book the page I turned to was dog eared so I knew it was already on my to-do list. OK. Time to give it a try. I am often brutal to books and I should retrain myself. I think I especially should have cared better for this book. This edition appears to have become a collectable. Oh dear. Might have been, except for my irreverent treatment. What might have been is not longer possible. It’s probably for the best; now I can keep turning down corners and making notes.
For this meal we prepared a platter of onion rings (thank you Zora!) but it would be wonderful with a simple rice pilaf or with the suggested first course from Marcella; spaghetti tossed with sauteed garlic and oil. It is so simple and quick I feel like it would be foolish to spend much time writing about it so lets get to it!
It is an easy 25 minute dish from start to finish but if you are having guests do the sauce a day early and you will have just the final five minutes of cooking time left.
I bought a chuck roast from the butcher and asked them to slice it into 1/4 inch steaks. For my roast that gave me 3 steaks. Each of these is pounded to tenderize it and a few little cuts to the edges are made so it doesn’t curl when it is cooked. And that process extends the meat even more so this dish would easily feed 4 enthusiastic eaters or 6 lightweights.
For the sauce:
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
- A generous helping of olive oil
- 2 medium cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
- 2/3 cup of canned Italian plum tomatoes, roughly chopped with their juices
- 1 dozen black Greek olives, pitted and quartered
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a good size skillet (the broader the skillet, the quicker the cook time) slowly sauté the onions in the olive oil until they turn golden then add in the garlic and continue until it is also slightly colored. Add the tomatoes, olives, oregano, salt and pepper. Let it cook at a lively simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce cooks down and begins to thicken.
For the meat heat up a cast iron skillet until it is smoking hot. Grease the bottom lightly and quickly with oil and add the beef slices, cooking just long enough to brown. Leave it on each side to sear so that it gets a nice brown ‘crust’. Season the beef with salt and pepper when you turn it. The biggest danger is to overcook the meat because it will get tough. After you have browned both sides platter it or place the meat on individual plates and cover it with the sauce. That’s it! Done. Now all that’s left is to poor a nice glass of red wine and enjoy your labors.