I’m not sure I can even call this a recipe rather than some step-by-step instructions on how to cook the perfect steak. Vegetarians, look away, I’m sorry.
The steaks I used to cook at home were always good- no doubt about that- but they often lacked that special something that a perfectly cooked restaurant steak provided (ambience? Nah, my home can bring it with the mood lighting).
So, I went to the experts: a chef from one of Vancouver’s best restaurants, Chambar. Sadly, not a close personal friend, but they do teach at the Dirty Apron Cooking School affiliated with the restaurant, so when I attended a class there I knew I could throw just about any technique question their way and get a true expert’s opinion.
The secret? Lots of heat (check), short cooking time (check) and… butter (wait- what?). Oh yes, you want to know why restaurant food tastes soooo heavenly? They baste just about everything in butter- it’s the French way! Think you’re saintly and healthy for ordering fish at a fancy restaurant? The jig is up, that beautiful piece of low fat protein has been finished with a pat (or three or five) of butter, just like the steak.
So, it’s not for every day. But again- in the French way of thinking- I would rather eat an unbelievable, life changing, utterly divine steak once every month or two than eat a dry, sub-par piece of meat three times as often. Quality, not quantity.
I am not a vegetarian myself (obviously), but if I am going to eat an animal I may as well honour the heck out of that animal by doing something really special with it.
This meal is very simple, but it remains my go-to treat-yo-self combo. Steak. Pasta. Perfectly cooked, perfectly fresh, perfect for a Friday night at the end of a long week, all washed down with a bottle of wine. I’m getting chills just thinking about next time I’m due for one of these nights.
If you have a different size steak and aren’t comfortable guessing it’s doneness, you can use the ol’ pinch test or use a meat thermometer. If you are using a meat thermometer, refer to the following temperatures as a guide for your perfect steak:
Rare: 120 degrees
Medium rare: 125 degrees
Medium: 135 degrees
Medium well: 150 degrees
Well done: Anything over 160 degrees (but to be completely honest, well done meat makes me sad. Ah well, to each their own…)
Finally, I use fresh pasta for this meal for a couple reasons. First of all, it cooks up nice and quick, meaning everything is ready to go in less than 20 minutes (or 15 if you’re super quick). Secondly, and probably most importantly, this is a treat meal! A simple pasta like this really shines when you use good ingredients and there really is no comparing the texture of fresh pasta to that of dried. Go for it, indulge, I dare ya 😉
|Restaurant Style Beef Tenderloin & Fresh Pasta|| |
- 2 cuts of beef tenderloin
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 lb fresh linguini or fettuccine (I used a spinach/plain duo here, hence the green noodles)
- 1 punnet grape tomatoes, halved
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- ½ small bunch fresh basil, cut into ribbons
- 2 Tbs balsamic reduction
- Fresh parmesan, grated (garnish)
- Take your beef tenderloin out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature- about 20 minutes ahead of cooking it. A cold steak will cook more unevenly. Season both sides of each steak with a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper- don't be shy with the seasoning, we're not adding much else to this so this seasoning will help the meat really sing on it's own. Drizzle with a small glug of olive oil.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan and add the minced garlic. Cook on medium high heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant but not browned. Remove from heat and let cool.
- In a small bowl, gently mix together the grape tomatoes, basil and balsamic reduction. Using a spatula, pour in the garlic and olive oil from the small pan, mix, and season with salt and pepper.
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
- Bring a medium-large pan to heat on High. Once hot (you can test this by flicking a bit of water on to the pan with your fingertips- if it sizzles and evaporates, it's hot), carefully drop each of your tenderloin steaks on to the pan. Do not move the steaks at all for the next few minutes.
- Once the steaks have cooked for 3 minutes*, use tongs to flip them both over. Cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- In the final minute of cooking, add butter to the pan. It will melt and brown quickly. Tip the pan slightly so that the melted butter gathers to one side and baste both steaks liberally with the melted butter. Remove the steaks from the heat and set them aside to rest.
- Add your fresh pasta to the boiling water while the steaks are resting- fresh pasta should take no more than 2-4 minutes to cook, depending on the width of the noodles.
- Drain the pasta, toss with the tomato mixture.
- Serve steak and pasta together immediately and enjoy! Pairs spectacularly with a glass of good red wine.