Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Penne with Beef and Arugula

I spent a very long time organising all my food bookmarks on del.icio.us recently and found this long-forgotten Giada De Laurentiis recipe. I love the idea of having pasta with non-minced beef. It's strange, but true. This recipe is from her "Picnic Planner" episode of Everyday Italian, and it tastes equally good served warm or at room temperature.

It's really easy and delicious. The dressing is a combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard. I wasn't comfortable with the three-quarters of a cup of olive oil, so I halved it. However, I did not make any adjustments to the amount of balsamic and it ended up really strong. It needed quite a bit of seasoning to soften the flavour.

I didn't have any fresh basil or rocket leaves, so I substituted Thai basil and baby spinach leaves. I thought that the peppery-ness of the Thai basil would substitute for the peppery-ness of the rocket. I did like the balance of the herbs but I would like to try it again with proper basil and rocket.

Penne with Beef and Arugula
adapated from Giada De Laurentiis' Everyday Italian

500g beef stir fry strips
1 tsp herbs de Provence
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
500g penne pasta
1/4 balsamic vinegar
2 tbs Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh Thai basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves

Season the steak with salt and freshly ground black pepper, herbs de Provence, and minced garlic. Spray a skillet with cooking oil spray and fry the beef strips until just cooked through. Set aside to rest.

Meanwhile cook the pasta according to packet directions, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.

In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, fresh herbs and oil. In a large bowl toss the pasta with half of the salad dressing and the reserved pasta water. Add the spinach leaves and steak and the rest of the dressing and season with salt and pepper as needed.

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