Friday, October 2, 2015

#ItalianFWT: Roasted Flank Steak with Zucchini-Mint Pesto with an Umbrian Merlot

This month the Italian Food, Wine & Travel - #ItalianFWT - blogging group is traveling to their twelfth region of Italy: Umbria. I'm joining for the just the third time and was thrilled to be heading to Umbria by goblet since I never made it there in real life.

Umbria is bordered by Tuscany to the west, Marche to the east and Lazio to the south. Partly hilly and partly flat, and fertile owing to the valley of the Tiber, its topography includes part of the central Apennines. Completely landlocked, it is the only Italian region having neither a coastline nor a common border with other countries.

Poet Giosuè Carducci writes about Umbria, il cuore verde d'Italia, 'the green heart of Italy.'

Oscure intanto fumano le nubi
su l'Apennino: grande, austera, verde
da le montagne digradanti in cerchio
l'Umbria guarda. 

Follow along the Umbria journey with my other Umbrian fans; you can also chat with us live this Saturday morning at 11am EST on Twitter at #ItalianFWT.  Hope to see you there!

From the #ItalianFWT Group...

In My Glass...
I chose a merlot from Umbria. Falesco hand-harvests its grapes from the hills around Orvieto, ferments in stainless steel, ages in barrels for seven months, then bottles - without filtration. In the glass, the merlot was a deep garnet in color with an exotic blend of aromas. Blackberry, tobacco and vanilla play on the palate to a lingering finish.

Full-bodied and velvety, I thought this would pair beautifully with some pesto-covered beef. And, I was correct. Next time, I think I'll try a lamb dish with mint chutney.

On My Plate...
I was inspired to make Roasted Flank Steak with Zucchini-Mint Pesto. To fully embrace the Autumn season, I topped all of it with crisped shiitake mushrooms and softened fennel.

Roasted Flank Steak with Zucchini-Mint Pesto

  • 1 flank steak, between 2 and 3 pounds) 
  • 1 T organic brown sugar 
  • 1 T paprika 
  • 1 t freshly ground salt
  • 1/2 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 t ground cumin 
  • 1/2 t ground coriander 
  • 1 T crushed mint leaves
  • olive oil
Zucchini-Mint Pesto
  • 2 C fresh zucchini, cut into 2" pieces
  • 1 C fresh mint
  • 2 T fresh oregano
  • 2 T fresh parsley
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • optional: freshly ground salt and freshly ground pepper
To Serve
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 C shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the flank steak on a parchment-lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, paprika, salt, cumin, coriander and mint. Sprinkle the spices over the flank steak and rub it in. Drizzle with olive oil. Then roast in the preheated oven for between 25 and 40 minutes, depending on desired level of doneness.

Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving. While the flank steak roasts and rest, prepare your sauce.

Zucchini-Mint Pesto
Put all ingredients in blender and pulse to a thick paste. If it's too thick, add more olive oil. If it's too runny, add more zucchini. Remove from blender and set aside until ready to serve. 

To Serve...
Soften the fennel in a splash or olive oil. Crisp the mushrooms and set aside. Here's how to crisp mushrooms. Place thin slices of flank steak on a plate. Spoon zucchini-mint peso over the top. Then lay softened fennel and crisp mushrooms on top of the pesto. Serve immediately.


  1. Looks delicious, I love alternative pesto's!

  2. Wow! That's steak looks awesome! Very creative recipe. I love the ingredients.đź‘Ť

  3. It does look delicious and the wine sounds great. Thanks!

  4. Zucchini mint pesto, sounds creative and wonderful

  5. Since #MerlotMe is right around the corner, I wonder how the Italian Merlot compares to New World Merlots. That aside, it sounds like a wonderful wine and pairing!