I would say that next to down home southern food, Italian food is probably my second favorite and always has been. I think it's because Italian food and southern food have a lot in common. You are probably wondering what the two possibly have in common, but both types of cuisine take what you have available, season it really well and make the most out of it. Both cultures also usually had really big families to feed with limited resources and knew how to stretch what they had to make that work. A big Italian family has a lot in common with a big southern family. Steak Pizzaiola always makes me think of the episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond" when Marie won't give Raymond's wife her Steak Pizzaiola recipe because it's Raymond's favorite and she wants to be the only one who can make that for him. That mother is so much like my own mother in a lot of ways, it's crazy. My mother doesn't like the comparison...lol.
Now, I do not have one drop of Italian blood in my heritage (that I know of), but I do love to cook and eat Italian food. This steak pizzaiola is a bit of my own creation, because I didn't grow up eating this, so if you are Italian or have an Italian mother or grandmother who cooks authentic Italian food, you might want to stop reading this now. I am sure it's far from what they called steak pizzaiola, but it is really good and it is at least similar to the authentic. Here is what you will need:
4-5 steaks or about 2 lb. (use a good cut like a strip steak, sirloin, or chuck eye)
1 jar or can marinara sauce
1 medium sweet onion cut in rings (I used Vidalia)
1 green pepper cut in strips
1 cup sliced white mushrooms or a small can
1 Tbs. chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbs butter
1 lb pasta (spaghetti, angel hair, or egg noodles work best)
Saute onions, green pepper, mushrooms and garlic in a tablespoon of butter and a little olive oil until they are just crisp tender. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside. Use a pan that is safe for the oven because you will be running this in the oven at the end.
Add the rest of the butter and a little more olive oil to the pan, sprinkle the steak with salt, pepper, and a little garlic salt and cook them on each side for about 6-7 minutes. Add the onions, peppers and mushrooms back to the pan on top of the steaks. If you don't think your steaks are going to be tender enough or they are extra thick, you can cut them thin across the grain at this point and they will be really fork tender when this is done. I used sirlion and they are better if you cut them thin across the grain before adding the sauce and cheese A cut like a New York strip won't need this step though.
Pour the marinara sauce over the steaks. Add the fresh basil, oregano, and sugar. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes on medium low heat. Top with the onions, peppers, and mushrooms.
Sprinkle the Asiago, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese over all. Run the pan in the oven preheated to 450 degrees until the cheese has melted and browned.
It will nice and brown an bubbly when it comes out of the oven. Cook the pasta according to package directions and serve the steak pizzaiola over it.