Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Steak Penne with Caramelized Onions

I'm really proud of the recipe I'm sharing today. While I can't take credit for coming up with the idea, I made some changes that really took it to the next level. It was one of the few times I've made a meal that I'd consider "restaurant quality."

 photo SteakPennewithCaramelizedOnions_zpsjhx7gnwp.jpg

I'll admit that I was a little skeptical of this dish at first. I typically like really saucy pastas, and this is definitely not coated in sauce. Despite the lack of sauce, this meal was packed with flavor. It made me realize that the sauce doesn't always have to make the dish.

That's not to say the sauce isn't good, though. It is. It's actually really good. It's just not a standard type of pasta sauce. There are no tomatoes, no cream, no wine, etc. It's really just a very simple dressing made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard. I know it probably sounds a little weird, but trust me ... It's delicious!

If you feel like branching out from the "usual" pasta dishes, please give this a try. It takes some time and effort, but it's completely worth it!

Steak Penne with Caramelized Onions

Adapted from a recipe on Girl Gone Gourmet.

Ingredient List:
  • 1-1 1/2 lb steak (I used 2 large ribeye steaks.)
  • 1 box penne or other short pasta
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Mrs. Dash Italian Medley
  • 2 cloves garlic (or, if you're lazy like me, the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Crumbled feta cheese for serving


1.  Melt the unsalted butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. 

2.  Once the butter has melted, add the sliced onion and garlic. Cover and cook over medium low for approximately 30 minutes, stirring frequently. The onions should be soft and caramel in color when they're done.

3.  While the onions are cooking, spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.

4.  In a small bowl, mix the garlic salt, black pepper, and Mrs. Dash Italian Medley. Rub the spice mixture on one side of the steak (or steaks, depending on how many you use).

5.  Cook the steak in the large skillet for approximately 5-10 minutes on each side, depending on how pink you like it. You will also need to consider the thickness of the steak when determining how long to cook it. Eric and I both like our steak medium rare, but I still had to cook these steaks for about 9 minutes on each side because they were so large and thick. (And they were still very pink.)

6.  While the steak is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne to the boiling water, cook according to package directions until al dente, and drain.

7.  Once the steak has been cooked, remove it to a plate and allow it to rest before slicing. (I sliced the meat into thin strips for this dish, but you can obviously cut it however you like.)

8.  Wipe out the large skillet that was used to cook the steak, and add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Heat the olive oil over medium heat.

9.  Add the sliced red bell pepper to the large skillet, and cook over medium heat until slightly tender.

10.  In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard.

11.  When the red bell pepper has finished cooking, add the caramelized onions, sliced steak, and drained pasta to the skillet. Toss in the spinach, and mix until it begins to wilt. Pour the olive oil/balsamic vinegar/Dijon mustard dressing into the skillet and toss with the pasta, meat, and vegetables until evenly coated. Top each serving with feta cheese.

This wasn't the quickest meal to make, and there are a lot of things going on at once. It's not overly difficult, though, and it's so good. I love when I can actually put something together in the kitchen that tastes just as good as something I would get in a restaurant, and this is definitely one of those dishes!


  1. That sounds fantastic. I pinned it, so I will be trying it soon!

  2. interesting! i have never tried steak in pasta. we don't really keep steak in the house (mainly because we can't cook it for shit) but this sounds good!