03 November 2017

This steak is not very Italian-o

When I was growing up, one of my favorite meals from my mom's treasure trove of recipes was a dish called "Round Steak Italiano".  It was round steak cooked in a gravy of tomato sauce and a packet of instant onion soup mix, and by Midwestern standards, it was Euro-delish. Mom would serve it over those "no yolk" curly noodles in the cellophane package.  By adding some spinach and using slightly less instant-y ingredients, this can become one of your staples, too. (PS, replace the beef with mixed mushrooms and the beef broth with a non-beef substitute, and you've got a tasty vegetarian option.)

Round Steak Italiano Reboot

Serves 4

1 pound pappardelle pasta, cooked al dente
olive oil
10 oz. flank steak, London Broil, or other lean cut
salt and black pepper
2 large shallots, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 10 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or dried oregano and a pinch dried basil)
1 tablespoon corn starch + 2 tablespoons cold water
2 packed cups torn spinach leaves

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over high heat.  Sear the flank steak on both sides and remove from the pan when the steak is edible but rare.  Allow to sit on a cutting board. 

Lower the heat to medium and add the shallots and garlic.  Saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat momentarily and add the red wine; it will smoke up a bit.  Scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan, then return to heat.  Add the tomatoes, beef broth, bay leaf, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Lower to a simmer and cover.

Once the steak has cooled a bit, cut it into thin strips.  Scrape the steak and all juices into the pan, toss in the spinach, give it a stir, and replace cover, allowing to simmer for about 5 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Bring to a boil and stir in the cornstarch mixture, whisking to thicken. Remove from heat and serve over the noodles.

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