Twisting Under a Tuscan Skye

2019 has kicked off with a bang.  At the Chicken Thief Kitchens we realized that 2018 was about the outrageous, the savory, the sweet, and the downright-no holds bar recipes to tempt the taste buds we could twist.  2019, we have challenged ourselves in that for every outrageously savory dish we twist up we will provide a balanced if not heart healthy inclined dish that….

Is still twisted

This is recipe number four for 2019, and in line with our promise it leans a little lean but does not lack for a punch.  We’ve heard from our readers the challenge of lowering the ingredient list, keeping the steps shorter.  Well we offer our first one-skillet entree – one of a few that are coming twisted in true form, a winner for your dinner, tested and not rested, a crowd teaser and a family pleaser.

This recipe takes skirt steak up a notch, matched with a fine Pinot Noir; we think this is a nice addition to a Tuscany delight…dang if we weren’t behind a curtain.

Tuscan Skillet Beef with Pinot Noir Crème Sauce

Yields approximately 6-8 servings (serving is 4 ounces pasta and 4-5 ounces of beef)



  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ lg yellow onion chopped
  • 1 medium leek stalk sliced
  • 4-5 skirt steaks (approx ½ lb each)dry rubbed and sliced on the bias
    • Dry rub consist of: 3 cloves garlic minced, 1 tbsp onion powder, 1 tbsp kosher salt, 1 tbsp cracked black pepper, 1 tsp crushed red pepper, 1 tsp dried oregano and basil ; or ¼ cup of your favorite steak seasoning mix
  • 2 lbs dried Farfalle Pasta
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ cup beef stock
  • 2 cups Pinot Noir
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup EVOO (a little more for the dry rubbing the skirt steak and for drizzling on the pasta)
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped parley
  • ½ cup sliced fresh basil (retain 1 tbsp for topping the dish)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt to taste
  • Thickener agent – 3 tbsp corn starch to 3 tbsp cold water whisked together

Equipment: 5 quart covered stock pot, 12 inch skillet (seasoned cast iron preferable, oiled steel otherwise), large cutting board, sharp kitchen knife


Steak Directions

  1. 24 hours in advance of cooking remove the skirt steak from its packaging, slice each on the bias to create approximately 1.5 inch wide strips, place the strips in a zip lock bag, drizzle with EVOO to coat evenly, place 4 tbsp of your favorite steak seasoning along with 2 tbsp each of dried oregano and dried basil (or the dry rub mix noted in the ingredients list), seal the bag and place it in your refrigerator to season and tenderize the meat

Aside 1 – skirt steak can be tough, ask you butcher to run it through their mechanical tenderizer.  Another option would be to select a high kosher salt containing steak seasoning to assist with tenderizing the meat.  Watch the salt content because it begins to add up quick. A third option is to purchase a meat tenderizing mallet and take your daily frustrations out on the skirt steak but be careful not to overly smash the meat, you don’t need to be a Hulk with this one.

Aside 2 – Remove the skirt steak from the refrigerator and let it rest on the counter to warm near to room temperature

You want to brown the steak strips thoroughly but not surpass a medium cook
  1. Over medium-high heat, heat ¼ to ½ cup EVOO in a 12 inch skillet
  2. Add the skirt steak strips and sauté, turning till the strips are seared on all sides (about 3-5 minutes) dependent on the cut of the strips
  3. Remove the strips and keep warm
  4. Lower the heat to medium-low, add chopped onion and sauté until soft (3-5 minutes), add garlic and leek and sauté with a pinch of salt and pepper till soft (3 minutes)
  5. Add 3 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce, ¾ beef broth, 2 cups Pinot Noir and bring to a boil while deglazing the bottom of the pan, raise to a steady boil over medium-high heat than lower to simmer and reduce the liquid
  6. Add the fresh chopped/sliced spices (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme), stir to combine in the liquid, return such to a simmer and reduce the liquid by about a 1/3
  7. Melt 4 tbsp of unsalted butter into the liquid
  8. Drizzle in half & half, whisking till thoroughly mixed
  9. Drizzle in a thickening agent and whisk to combine until the cream sauce tightens up (one likely will not use all of the suggested corn starch mix), about 2 minutes
  10. Add the skirt steak strips, combine with the sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes before platting
  11. Add salt and pepper per taste desire

Farfalle Pasta Direction

  1. To a 5 quart pot add two-thirds cold water, and 1 tbsp kosher salt
  2. Bring the water to a steady boil
  3. Add dried Pasta, stir, let the water return to a steady mild boil
  4. Stir periodically and cook till al-dente (about 6-8 minutes)
  5. Drain most of the water (retaining about a ¼ to ½ cup)
  6. Drizzle the cooked pasta with EVOO till thoroughly coated, stir to mix with the remaining water and coat all of the pasta, keep warm

Aside – If the pasta will sit for a spell, keep covered but periodically turn the pasta gently over to avoid clumping and subsequent break down of the Farfalle pasta.


Platting Directions

  1. Plate 4 to 5 oz of the pasta on the center of the plate
  2. Spoon over the pasta a 4 to 5 oz serving of the beef (about 4 to 5 strips) and Pinot Noir crème sauce
  3. Sprinkle with chopped fresh Italian Flat Parsley and sliced Basil
  4. Sprinkle with an Italian blend of shredded cheeses (parmesan, romano, asiago, etc.)

Twisting Alert — Want to add further flavor to the profile?  Here’s a twist we have yet to taste at the CTK, plate with chopped marinate artichoke hearts (marinated in Italian vinaigrette dressing).

Serve with – Rustic Crostini or Bruschetta with a melt of asiago and drizzle of balsamic and Italian herb house salad with garlic bread croutons. How about a tasty Tuscan veggie mix?  Roasted-shaved Brussel-Sprouts, prosciutto and fresh sliced mozzarella with a balsamic reduction drizzle.