Food

Balsamic Steak Pasta

balsamic pasta

It’s springtime, which in our house means it’s time for delicious, produce-heavy dishes that are light on the sauce. One of my favorite recipes to make all year, but especially in the spring/summer, is a steak and pasta recipe based loosely on this pasta salad recipe.

What you need:
— one (3/4-1 lb) steak. Boneless cuts like sirloin and flank work the best, but I’ve used just about every steak under the sun for this recipe and they all turn out great. You could also use leftover steak if you didn’t season it with anything except salt and pepper.
— 2 cups pasta. Tubular kinds work best; I’ve used penne, rigatoni, campanelle, and cellentani pasta to great effect.
— lots of balsamic vinegar, like 1-2 cups
— a little brown sugar
— one large shallot, sliced thinly
— 2-3 garlic cloves, minced, more if you’re a garlic fiend or having a date with someone you don’t want to kiss.
— salt, pepper, and garlic powder
— olive oil. Points for a fancy olive oil bottle and flourishes while pouring into the skillet. Extra extra points for liberal usage of “BAM!” like Emeril.
— veggies. I like to use a thinly sliced whole red bell pepper, a bunch of asparagus, green beans, sometimes broccoli, but you do you.

First, make a reduction of balsamic vinegar by simmering it over low heat until it reduces a lot and coats a spoon. Tutorial here, since “reduces a lot” is in no way helpful if you’ve never done this before. I like to do this in advance in big batches on days when the boys aren’t in the kitchen and I can have the windows open. Reducing vinegar can make quite the eye-watering fumes, and it’s a pain to do every time so make extra and keep the extra in the fridge. I also add in a sprinkle of brown sugar right at the end just to make it a little sweeter, although some people like to use honey.

Put the pasta on to cook and heat the broiler.

Cook the veggies. Saute the garlic, shallots, bell pepper, and green beans (if using green beans) with olive oil over medium-high heat until they’re cooked to how you like them. I like my green beans limp but not dead, and my shallots on their way to being caramelized. If I’m using asparagus or broccoli, I roast those in the oven since I like the taste better and the crunch is a nice addition.

For the steak, season both sides with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Broil for eight or ten minutes or until desired doneness, flipping halfway through. I find four minutes each side works pretty well for about medium-medium rare on a steak about an inch thick.

Once the steak has cooked and been allowed to rest for five minutes, cut it diagonally across the grain (key for tenderness!) into thin slices.

Combine everything–pasta, steak, veggies–into the skillet you used to cook the veggies. Drizzle with the reduced balsamic vinegar until evenly coated. Toss and serve!

This recipe is SO versatile, and can be modified a thousand different ways to include more or less meat, and whatever produce you like, and is easily made gluten-free if that’s your jam. For a more summer-friendly option, grill the steaks and cook the veggies on the grill! This can also be eaten cold, although I do prefer it hot. I’m not a big wine drinker (champagne get at me though), but if you are, I’ve heard that a sauvignon blanc is lovely paired with balsamic vinegar, and Food and Wine has a great list of wines to pair with grilled steak. If I’m drinking wine with steak, I prefer a Malbec, which is on the list so now I feel a little more fancy and cultured.

…until I remember that I’ve had wine and steak together approximately five times. I blame the fact that if I have small children and thus have been pregnant or nursing for literal years now, and also the fact that if I have just a little bit to drink, I fall asleep, and if I have a lotta bit to drink, I’m hungover, and having to mom or work cows hungover is the worst. Please refer to the day after St. Patrick’s Day, 2013 for evidence.

Happy Wednesday! It’s dreary and cold here today, which I’m trying not to mind, and it’s the perfect day to run to town and get a coffee, which I’m trying not to do because seventeen miles each way is a little much for a frappucino when there’s no emergency. Thank goodness we don’t live close to a coffee shop, our budget would never survive!

 

 

 

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