Pasta with Seared Radicchio, Steak, Balsamic


By Freya Bellin

This dish is full of striking flavor combinations. The red onions really absorb the balsamic vinegar and become ultra sweet, which works nicely to offset the bitter radicchio. Plus, the shades of dark purple are really beautiful. The fresh basil comes through surprisingly strongly here too, both in flavor and color. A half cup may seem like a lot, but it’s a great addition.

Notably, this dish is truly a pasta dish and not a steak dish. There’s only a half pound of meat for four servings, but it’s just enough to make it a filling entree. If you like your steak very rare, 2 minutes on each side should be plenty of cooking time. My steak looked quite rare when sliced, but once it was added back to the pot with the other hot ingredients, it seemed to continue cooking a bit too. When the weather gets warm again (or for those of you who are happy to grab a coat and grill outside in the winter), I bet that the vegetables and meat could be grilled rather than seared for an extra smoky element. As mentioned below, it tastes great at room temperature, and while it works for winter, I’ll be happy to make this again come summer picnic season.  Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

Spaghetti with Seared Radicchio, Steak, and Balsamic Sauce

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

You want the steak to be rare here, and give it at least 5 minutes to rest before you cut into it to capture all of the meaty juices for the sauce. I recommend spaghetti here—so you can twirl a little bit of everything into one bite—but use whatever shape you like. I think this is even better at room temperature than it is hot, which makes it one great picnic or entertaining dish.


2 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces sirloin, skirt, or other beef steak

Black pepper

1 pound radicchio, cut into ribbons

1 large red onion, halved and sliced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

8 ounces spaghetti or other long, thin pasta, preferably whole wheat

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, or to taste

1⁄2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the steak, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until browned but rare. Remove it from the skillet and cover loosely with a piece of foil or a pot lid.

2. Add the radicchio, onion, and garlic to the skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and cover.

3. Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until it’s tender but not mushy (start tasting after 5 minutes), then drain it, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water. Thinly slice the steak, being careful to capture all the drippings.

4. Add the vinegar to the skillet, stir, and let it bubble until it thickens slightly but doesn’t evaporate, just a few seconds. Toss in the pasta, steak with its juices, basil, and a generous sprinkling of black pepper; add just enough of the pasta water to keep the mixture moist. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot or at room temperature.


Posted in Italian, Recipes

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