Pizzaiola Steak

Costata alla Pizzaiola

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Italian Regional Cookery

Italian Regional Cookery

By Valentina Harris

Published 1990

  • About

To me this epitomises the style of Campanian cookery - Neapolitan in particular. Such is the Neapolitans’ love of the brilliant red tomato, which has become the most important symbol of their cuisine, that in dishes such as this one it is cooked as little as possible so as not to lose any of the bright colour, tangy flavour or scent. Naturally, the dish is best when made in its area of origin with freshly gathered, sun-warmed tomatoes, but it is still very good even when you use canned tomatoes or passata. It is the quintessential Neapolitan dish - quick and easy, bright and colourful, versatile and delicious. Any kind of meat can be used except lamb, but thinly sliced beef, veal or a well-flattened chicken breast will cook most quickly. It was cooked for us by a very charming friend we made on our travels - the Neapolitan surgeon Nello Oliviero, who invited us to his home for lunch. We enjoyed a wonderful meal in the family’s beautiful flat - the dining room in particular has a really spectacular view over the bay of Naples, and the basil came from Nello’s personal herb garden on the terrace. In fact, so keen was he to have fresh basil that he had part of the terrace covered with glass to help it grow!


  • lb (750 g) thinly sliced sirloin or rump steak or veal or chicken breasts, skinned
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • lb (750 g) canned tomatoes, sieved
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped basil
  • salt and pepper


Trim any gristle and fat off the meat, flatten it as much as possible with a meat mallet and set it to one side. Heat the oil in a frying-pan wide enough to take all the meat in a single layer, add the garlic and fry gently for about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley and basil, stir and bring to the boil. Slip the meat into the tomato sauce, cook very quickly for about 5 minutes, sprinkle with salt and plenty of pepper and serve at once.