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Simple Pizzaiola Sauce

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This sauce brings meats and sandwiches to a different level.

Thinly sliced meats like pork or venison and give them a spicy, saucy treatment in a crusty bread sandwich.

Instead of pizza, try pizzaiola. This simple tomato sauce is easy to prepare and is an excellent addition to any meal featuring game such as wild pork or venison. Some chefs prefer it served over grilled and thinly-sliced medium rare loin, but my preference is to use it to slowly simmer tender steaks and feature it in Italian-themed sandwiches.

No matter your choice of meat, the trick to making it tender is to either pound it with a mallet or have your game processor run your meat through a cube-steak machine. Lean cuts seem to hold up better for this recipe.

Backstrap and tenderloins will work, but care must be taken to not over-do the tenderization process. With meat that's prepared in this manner, it's an easy process to salt and pepper it, quickly sear it in hot olive oil and then simmer it for 15 minutes in the pizzaiola sauce. I don't recommend any flour or coating for the meat. Then, it's just a simple matter of gathering up some crusty bread, some shredded Provolone cheese, maybe a spare pepper slice or two—and assembling some fabulous eats. Allow at least a third pound of meat per sandwich, as this is hearty fare.

Remember, it's almost as easy and quick to make pizzaiola as it is to order pizza, and you don't have to tip the delivery person! FS

Simple Pizzaiola Sauce

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

6 cloves garlic, crushed

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

¼ cup mild pepperoncini rings

½ tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. dried oregano

½ stick butter (4 tbsp.)

1 tbsp. salt

1 tbsp. sugar

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the garlic until it sizzles, then add the onion and bell pepper and cook until they soften, about five minutes. Finally, add the pepperoncini, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, oregano, butter, salt and sugar and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until thick.

First published Florida Sportsman March 2015

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