Steak Pizzaiola

The steak is really on there, somewhere

If I was a prisoner on death row (disclaimer: I have no plans to be) then I’d choose steak, chips, mushrooms, onion rings with an accompanying peppercorn sauce for my last meal. Except I’m not on death row, and I can’t have steak when on a ‘diet’, or so I thought.

It turns out you can have steak in moderation, providing that you serve it with a low-cal sauce or a side salad. I’m not convinced that’s a fair compromise, but I decided to give Steak Pizzaiola a try from the Hairy Dieters. I figured the ‘pizzaiola’, tomato based sauce would be a hit with my son, who just like his old man, loves his steaks.

Actually, this did turn out quite well, although I decided early on that a few supporting salad leaves just wasn’t going to cut it so I added some naughty chips on the side. The diet police can lock me up and throw away the key. The quantity of hard cheese, just 25g, didn’t really add that much flavour for the extra cooking time, so you may wish to leave it out and save a whole 23 calories and 5 minutes of your life. I’m actually getting grumpy as I’m typing this because I want a proper steak dinner!

Recipe: Steak Pizzaiola

Calories: 347 por portion (without cheese); 369 per portion (with cheese)

Serves: 2

Book: Hairy Dieters – Good Eating

Prep time: Approx 20 mins

Cooking time: Approx 30 mins


  • 4 large very ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch of caster sugar (optional)
  • 1 lean rump steak (about 325g) 2cm thick
  • Salad leaves, to serve
  • 25g hard cheese such as Cheddar or Gruyere, very thinly sliced (optional)
  • Flaked sea salt
  • Ground black pepper

Cost per portion: Approx £2.62 (including Cheddar cheese)

Method: First peel the tomatoes. To do this, score a small cross in the base of each and put them in a small bowl. Cover the tomatoes with freshly boiled hot water, count to 10, then remove them from the water. The skins will slip off easily. Chop the tomatoes and set them aside.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the shallots and fry over a medium heat for several minutes until they’re soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring regularly. Now add the oregano and tomatoes and bring everything to the boil. Simmer the sauce for about 15 minutes until well reduced, then taste for seasoning and add a little sugar if needed.

Trim as much fat off the steak as you can, then season the meat with salt and pepper. Cut the steak in half. Heat a griddle pan for several minutes until it is as hot as you can get it, then add the steaks. Grill them for 2-3 minutes on each side or according to taste. Transfer them to a board and leave to rest for a few minutes.

Once the steaks have rested, strain any meat juices into the tomato sauce. Cook the sauce for another minute to allow the juices to combine. Lay the steaks on warm plates, then spoon over the sauce and serve immediately, garnished with some salad leaves.

If you want to add cheese, heat the grill to its highest setting while you’re cooking the steaks, but cook the steaks for a minute less on the second side. When the steaks have rested, put them in an ovenproof dish, cover with tomato sauce, then top with the cheese. Put the dish under the hot grill until the cheese has melted and started to brown.


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