A Classic Philly Pizza Steak!
When in the Philadelphia area, the signs for sandwich shops have slang words that the locals understand. Outsiders easily recognize the name "Cheese Steak" because this is how this sandwich is spelled on restaurant menus far away from Philadelphia. The word "Cheesesteak" is another easy to recognize variation.
The confusion starts when an outsider sees a neon light in a restaurant window that simply says "Steaks." To an outsider, the word "Steak" only has one meaning, which is a cut of tender beef that weighs 8 to 16 ounces and is cooked on a chargrill. In a Philadelphia sandwich shop, the word "Steak" always refers to a grilled shaved beef sub sandwich.
The word "Steak" does not necessarily refer to whether a Cheese Steak has cheese on it or not, but many Philadelphia cooks include this in the Philly Steak definition. In some Philadelphia restaurants, when a customer orders a Steak and does not specify a cheese, the sandwich will come with no cheese on it. In other restaurants, a Steak will automatically have cheese on it. The regular customers already know how the Steak will come off the grill, while an outsider might have to ask.
The easiest way to ensure that cheese will be on the sandwich is to specify what kind of cheese that you want on the sandwich. Usually the choices are Provolone, American or Whiz. Another way is to look at the menu and order a Steak Shop specialty sandwich. One of the oldest classic Cheese Steak shop specialties is a Pizza Steak. A Pizza Steak is guaranteed to have Provolone on it. Sometimes a Pizza Steak even has both Provolone and Mozzarella on the sandwich.
As one can imagine, a Pizza Steak is an awesome munch! This sandwich is like eating a pizza and a Cheese Steak all wrapped up in one. Some sandwich shops load a Pizza Steak up with tomato sauce, onion, peppers, mushrooms and pepperoni for one set price. Others just add tomato sauce and cheese, then leave the rest of the ingredients up to the customer, but the shop might charge for each extra item. Either way, a Pizza Steak costs a dollar or two more than a regular Steak and it is well worth the price.
Old school Philly cooks sometimes chop all the ingredients on the grill with the shredded beef. When a Pizza Steak is prepared this way, it can be difficult for a busy waitress to tell which sandwich is which. Placing the pepperoni on top is a good way to mark a Pizza Steak. The sight of roasted pepperoni on a Pizza Steak straight out of an oven adds to the appeal!
Italian Tomato Sauce:
This sauce can be used in many recipes, including classic pasta. Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
• Salsa di Pomodoro
Philly Pizza Steak:
This recipe yields 1 foot long Pizza Steak Sandwich.
Some butcher shops offer fresh thin shaved Knuckle Roast for cheesesteaks. Knuckle Roast is part of the beef shoulder section and it is the best choice.
Frozen shaved beef for cheesesteaks is also available at most grocery stores. Some brands are better than others. Try to select one that looks like thin shaved beef, not one that looks like pressed fine chopped scraps.
The best bread for a cheesesteak is a foot-long Hoagie Roll that has a slightly chewy texture. Italian sub rolls are good too. A crusty baguette is not a good choice.
Step 1: Heat a cast iron griddle or wide sauté pan over medium heat.
Coat the griddle with 2 teaspoons of blended olive.
Step 2: Place 3 tablespoons of diced onion on the griddle.
Add 1/4 cup of thin sliced Button Cave Mushrooms.
Add 3 tablespoons of diced green bell pepper.
Briefly grill till the vegetables start to cook.
Step 3: Place 7 ounces of paper thin sliced Beef Knuckle Roast on top of the vegetables on the griddle.
Lightly season with sea salt and black pepper.
Add 1 pinch of oregano.
Step 4: Use 2 large spatulas to tear and shred the beef and vegetables into small pieces.
Grill and toss the beef till it is thoroughly browned.
Step 5: Mound the beef and vegetable mixture across the center of the griddle.
Place 4 thin slices of Provolone Cheese on the mound of beef and vegetables. (About 1 1/2 ounces)
Step 6: Pour 1/4 cup of water over the cheesesteak mound.
Allow the water to steam and completely evaporate.
*The steam will melt the cheese.
Briefly toss the ingredients together, so the melted cheese coats most of the beef.
Step 7: Cut one side of a 12" long Hoagie Roll (or sub roll). (Do not cut all the way through the bread!)
Split the Hoagie Roll open.
Use a large spatula to mound the cheesesteak mixture on the open Hoagie Roll.
Step 8: Pour about 1/2 cup of Salsa di Pomodoro on the sandwich.
Sprinkle about 1/3 cup of grated Mozzarella Cheese on the tomato sauce.
Place several paper thin slices of Pepperoni on the cheese. (About 1 1/2 ounces)
Step 9: Place the sandwich on a broiler pan.
Place the pan in a 400ºF oven.
Bake till the cheese melts and a few golden brown highlights appear.
Step 10: Remove the pan from the oven.
Place the sandwich on a cutting board and cut it in half.
Place the Philly Pizza Steak on a plate.
Garnish the plate with curly leaf parsley sprigs and pickles of your choice.
A Philly Pizza Steak certainly is a classic!