The inspiration for this meal came to me after meeting John for lunch one afternoon. We went to a restaurant near where he works. The restaurant itself was a bit run of the mill, nothing all that special, but the soup that day was a creamy steak and gorgonzola. John almost started drooling the moment he saw that written on their sidewalk sign. He ordered that and a half sandwich while I opted for a steak sandwich instead. His soup wasn’t as heavy as I expected– the gorgonzola flavor was subtle and the soup was actually light in body despite the cream and the cheese. However, I was puzzled as to where the pieces of steak were that made it steak and gorgonzola soup.
My sandwich for the most part didn’t disappoint. Loads of caramelized onions and slices of tender, perfectly cooked steak, but what was missing for me was a complexity of flavor and spice. Despite a nice crust on the outside of pink in the middle beef, there was just something slightly off as far as the seasoning used and perhaps what I also missed was a pile of sautéed mushrooms which I love with a good steak. So I started mapping out a pasta dish that could combine what was good from each of our dishes at lunch that day and throw in some elements that I felt could improve things.
I chose rigatoni since I wanted a sturdy noodle that would hold its own against slices of steak and thought that the ridges in the noodle would be great for absorbing a gorgonzola cream sauce. The cream sauce was made by caramelizing shallots and mushrooms then using a splash of brandy to deglaze the pan. I made a roux and whisked in some beef stock, cream, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, and flecks of tarragon for a refreshing bite of licorice to cut through the creamy sauce. Finally, I mixed in slices of steak that had been cooked to medium rare. This was hearty but not heavy and felt like a steakhouse meal but with less fuss. Definitely worth a try for when you want a meal that feels a little fancy but has all the comforts of casual cooking.
- 1 lb dried rigatoni, cooked according to package directions
- 16 oz boneless rib eye steak
- 1 tbsp Montreal steak seasoning
- olive oil
- 1 large shallot, sliced thinly
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced (yields 1 tsp)
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 4 oz oyster mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 oz gorgonzola crumbles
- 2 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Season both sides of the steak (which is at room temperature) with steak seasoning. Sear the steak for 4-5 minutes on each side or until a nice crust has formed. Place skillet in oven and cook for another 15 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 140 degrees F for medium rare. Remove and let rest on a plate.
Heat an additional tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until shallots are light brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until soft and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle in the garlic and about 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Stir in the brandy and using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan. Cook until brandy has been absorbed, about 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Once the butter has melted, sprinkle flour evenly over all the mushrooms in the pan. Cook for about 1 minute before adding beef stock and cream. Let this simmer for 4-5 minutes or until thickened slightly. Fold in the cheese and sprinkle in about half of the tarragon.
Pour this sauce over cooked rigatoni and keep warm over medium low heat while you slice the steak. Slice the steak across the grain, about 1/4 inch thick. Gently fold the pieces of steak into the pasta and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Plate pasta and sprinkle each plate with some of the remaining tarragon.