A dish I learned from my mother, pizzaiola means “meat in pizza style“ or “in the style of the pizza makers wife.” It’s the way owners of a pizzeria might cook their own meal for the next day as the embers die in the pizza oven. They would throw a protein (like a pork chop or other cut) into some spare pizza ingredients like tomato sauce, olive oil, and herbs. As the pizza oven cools down overnight, the meat braises in the sauce and the result is out of this world.
To make this dish in a home oven, heat the oven to 250°, place pork chops in a baking dish, sprinkle with a bit of salt, cover with tomato sauce (like the one below), and place in the oven, uncovered, for many hours. Keep an eye on the dish. A little bit of char is good, a lot is less good, but mostly, you are looking for a fork-tender piece of meat. If the tomato sauce becomes too thick, add water.
Serve hot on its own with an arugula salad, or over polenta or pasta. Sprinkle some parsley on top, maybe some capers, either pecorino or Parmigiana, and some fresh halved cherry tomatoes marinated in a touch of olive oil and salt and pepper. Mangia!
Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes
5 pounds paste-type tomatoes
1 cup extra virgin olive oil (which seems like a lot, but it’s ok)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon salt
Pinch chile flakes
1 tablespoon each chopped marjoram and basil
Blanch tomatoes quickly in boiling water, then shock them in ice water. When they’re cool, peel and seed, then put through a food mill. Heat olive oil and sauté garlic until soft but not colored. Add the tomato puree and seasonings. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring often.