Friday, March 1, 2013

Recipe: Balsamic-Red Wine Sirloin and Vegetables with Halved Fettuccine

Leftover sirloin steak, three bell pepper halves, an aging onion and tomato, and a handful of shiitake mushrooms meant dinner last night was going to be a "throw it in a pan and see what happens" affair. Slicing sirloin into thin pieces and searing it is a great way to cook it, and it's a great way to cook veggies as well. I didn't want stir fry again, so I opted for an Italian-style dish with the flavors of balsamic vinegar, red wine, Italian dressing base, and olive oil. Simple, flavorful, and colorful (and a great way to use up some leftover ingredients!), this dish is easy to make and a great way to get your vegetables and protein for the day.

Serves: 4
Prep. time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy


  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • Approx. 1-2 tsp. Italian dressing base (I used a loose form from Penzey's, but you can use the prepared packets)
  • Approx. 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. red wine (cooking wine is fine)
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Meat and veggies
  • Approx. 1/2-3/4 lb. sirloin steak, thinly sliced into 2-3 inch-long/1-2 inch-wide pieces (to be honest, I used half of a sirloin roast, but any steak appropriate for searing, like a strip steak, could work—I would use at least two steaks for four people, but you may want to do one steak per person if you want a lot of meat) 
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. red wine
  • Approx. 1 cup chopped bell peppers (I used 1/2 orange, 1/2 yellow, and 1/2 green, but any combo will work)
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced (I had shiitakes left over, but any small mushroom would work)
  • 1-2 tomatoes, center removed (unless you like all the seeds and goo), chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 tbsp. fresh basil, chiffonade cut
  • 16 oz. (1 box) fettuccini, broken in half (when the noodles are halved, it makes them easier to manage; you could also use penne or a similar shaped pasta in this dish)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Butter

In a medium bowl, mix the ingredients for the marinade, add the slices of meat, and toss to coat. Set aside (if possible, let the meat marinate for an hour). 
Fill a medium to large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the fettuccini and cook until done (approx. 12-14 minutes). 
While the pasta is cooking, heat a little olive oil and butter in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and bell peppers, as well as the balsamic vinegar and red wine (a sprinkle of the Italian dressing base, along with salt and pepper, will add a little flavor). Cook until slightly tender, then push to the side of the pan and add the meat, laying the pieces out in an even layer. After a minute or two, turn each of the pieces of meat over and continue to cook. Reduce the heat to medium, add the mushrooms and tomato, and toss to mix the ingredients. Add the garlic and basil, toss to combine, and reduce the heat to low. 
When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a little butter, then add the meat and vegetable mixture to the pasta (I used a wok-like pan to cook my veggies and meat and it was easier to toss the pasta in with the veggies and meat rather than vice versa). Serve with Italian cheese, as desired.

This dish is simple, with clean flavors and a good mix of textures. You could sub in different vegetables if desired, but the bell peppers, mushrooms, tomato, and onion blend well in this dish. Adding steak to pasta is a little different and definitely a nice change from the usual chicken, meatballs, or sausage that are often included in pasta dishes. Sweet red wine and tangy balsamic vinegar are great flavors that balance each other out while adding a kick to the vegetables and the meat. 

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