Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bistecca Alfonso

This recipe seems to have vanished from restaurant menus over the years.  I learned this recipe while working for an Italian chef in Philadelphia.  I'm not sure whether Bistecca Alfonso was originally named after an Italian restaurant owner or a chef.  Regardless, this is a very flavorful steak entree.  I seem to know many lost and forgotten dishes from the old school days of cooking.  Its nice to see people who are tired of complicated modern eclectic cuisine seek and enjoy classic recipes because of the level of comfort.  This is certainly a comfortable tasty entree!
     Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe:  Hand squeeze and crush some Imported canned Italian whole plum tomatoes with basil packed in their own juices in a mixing bowl.
     Saute a thin sliced garlic clove in olive oil over medium high heat.
     When the garlic turns to a golden brown color, add the hand crushed tomatoes with some of the tomato juices.
     Add a pinch of basil, some chopped Italian parsley and a pinch of oregano.
     Add sea  salt, a pinch of crushed red pepper and black pepper.
     Rapidly saute and reduce the pizzaiola sauce till it is thick and set it aside.  (Pizzaiola sauce only takes a few minutes to prepare.  It is necessary to use high quality Italian tomatoes to make this sauce!)
     Recipe:  Sear a New York Strip Steak in a little bit of olive oil over medium high heat in a saute pan.
     Add some julienne green and red bell pepper strips to one side of the pan while the steak is cooking.
     Season the steak with sea salt and black pepper.  (Cook the steak slightly more rare than the preferred temperature because the steak will be baked in an oven too.)
     Remove the steak from the pan and cook the pepper strips till they are al dente.
     Set the steak on a baking pan.
     Spoon the pizzaiola sauce over the steak.
     Lay thin slices of fresh mozzarella cheese over the sauce on the steak.
     Place the pepper strips on top of the cheese on the steak.  (Alternate the green and red pepper strips.)
     Place the pan with the steak in a 350 degree oven.
     Bake the steak till the mozzarella becomes soft but not browned.
     Place the steak on a plate with a spatula.
     Serve with garlic sauteed fresh spinach and risi di funghi (mushroom rice).
     Garnish with a parsley sprig.
     Risi di Funghi Recipe:  Saute chopped mushrooms in olive oil in a sauce pot over medium high heat till they are soft.
     Add some rice and stir for 30 seconds.
     Add a 2 to 1 proportion of water or mushroom broth to rice.
     Season with sea salt, black pepper and oregano.
     Bring to a boil and cover the pan.
     Simmer the rice covered over low heat and stir occasionally.
     The rice takes twenty minutes to cook.
     Plate the risi di funghi with a ring mold.
     Garlic Spinach:  The sauteed spinach only takes a minute to cook and it should be cooked last.
     Saute chopped garlic in olive oil till it is golden colored.
     Add a couple handfuls of fresh spinach leaf.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Stir the spinach till it wilts.
     Set the sauteed spinach on the plate.
     Delicious!  The flavors of this steak are so nice!  The quality of the tomatoes makes a big difference in an al fresco pizzaiola sauce.  So use the best Italian tomatoes you can find.  Risi di funghi is a perfect accompaniment for this steak.  Yum!  Ciao Baby!  ...  Shawna        

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