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San Marino: Bistecca di San Marino

This is a traditional Sammarinese recipe for beef steaks coated in seasoned salt that are pan-fried and finished by slow-roasting in a tomato sauce. Typically the steaks are baked for 4 hours after pan-frying. I needed to cut that time down, so I braised ours for almost 2 hours. It was melt-in-your-mouth tender. I'll try the baking method soon.

Ingredients makes 4 servings

  • 2 pound steak (I used a New York strip steak)
  • 1/2 C white whole wheat flour
  • 1 t freshly ground sea salt
  • 1 t freshly ground pepper
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 C fresh tomato sauce
  • 1/2 C red wine
  • 1 bay leaf

Cut the steak into four serving pieces. Blend together the flour, salt, and pepper and coat meat with it.

Add a splash of olive oil in a large, flat-bottom pan that can hold all of the meat without crowding. Add in the leeks and cook until softened and beginning to caramelize. Press beef into the pan, searing it quickly for 30 seconds. Flip it over and sear the other side.

Pour in the tomato sauce and red wine. Crumble bay leaf into the sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover tightly and reduce the heat as low as you can. Let that braise, slowly, for as long as you can. I did it for almost two hours. But the longer, the better.

The meat should be super tender. Once cooked, discard any large pieces of bay leaf then move the steaks to serving plates. Serve with a side of steamed rice, drizzled with the cooking sauce, and a crisp green salad. Pronto al tavolo!


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