Toss pasta with grilled steak cubes. Add bleu cheese, bacon, and creamy garlic dressing. Pasta for summertime doesn’t need a lot of ingredients to taste great. Just some typical local ingredients such as juicy cherry tomatoes, red onion, and arugula or spinach. The smokiness of the grill combines with the steak's caramelized juices making this pasta a main dish favorite. Men love this combo – Happy Father’s Day or Happy Birthday anyone?
High prices for beef steak these days encourages inventive dishes that balance the meat with carbs and fresh vegetables. It’s perfect for entertaining a large crowd. Substituting grilled chicken for steak is equally delicious. Why not double the recipe and serve one with beef and one with chicken so your guests have a choice? If you have leftovers from a day of outdoor grilling, use those too.
The Vesuvio or Gigli cut of pasta is extruded into a curl similar to a corkscrew. It is hearty and balances assertive flavors while its curls catch bits of onion, cheese, and creamy garlic dressing. (Forget frilly bow-tie pasta for this recipe.) Top with crispy bacon or pancetta and serve at room temperature. Accompany with iced cold beer, some Negroni cocktails, or light red wine for a great summer party.
4 servings as a main dish. Cooking time is 10 to 15 minutes.
12 ounces (340 g) dried pasta (Vesuvio or Gigli cut or shells; wheat, whole wheat or gluten-free pasta) (6 cups boiled pasta)
10 ounces ( 340 g) fresh cherry tomatoes (2 cups tomatoes split in half or quartered)
Half small red onion, diced
Crumbled Gorgonzola or other bleu cheese to taste
Fresh arugula or spinach leaves
1 pound (454 g) trimmed sirloin or your favorite steak, grilled
4 strips smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
OR 2 ounces (57 g) pancetta (6 thin slices chopped or diced), cooked and crumbled
Creamy Garlic Dressing:
6 tablespoons (89 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (30 ml) white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream
Grated fresh garlic to taste
Ground red cayenne pepper to taste, optional
Salt to taste
1. Preparing the Pasta: Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. (Refer to the packaging for recommended cooking time.) Drain well and cool. Put the pasta in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, onion, crumbled cheese, arugula or spinach, and gently toss. Grill the steak and cool down so juices redistribute. Cut into bite-sized pieces and reserve. During this time, cook the bacon or pancetta, drain, crumble, reserve.
2. Dressing: Pour the oil and vinegar into a medium-sized bowl and whisk. Pour in the heavy cream, add the grated garlic, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and salt. Whisk all ingredients together until the dressing is smooth, creamy, and emulsified. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. (Remember the cheese and bacon or pancetta add salt.) This dressing can be made in advance and refrigerated. Remove it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before using. Whisk again to emulsify.
Pour over the pasta and toss. Add the grilled steak and toss again. Season with salt if needed. Just before serving sprinkle crumbled crisp bacon or pancetta on top.