Fresh Rigatoni and Steak “Bolognese”

RECIPE: Fresh Rigatoni and Steak "Bolognese"

Steak Bolognese RigatoniI love, love, love a hearty rigatoni Bolognese.  Not a soupy tomato sauce, but a thick ragu that sticks to your ribs, with meat that you have to scrape off the bottom of your plate and onto your fork and into your mouth because it’s THAT good.  It’s perfect for ‘mixed company’: it’s the kind of food that men expect and exist off of, and the kind of food that women secretly hope they’ll have no excuse not to eat.

This recipe is my slightly more elegant, definitely easier, rather summery Rigatoni with Steak “Bolognese.”  I start with a piece of filet, instead of ground beef, salted and peppered and forgotten in the oven for around 15 minutes.  While it’s cooking, I blitz some carrots, onions, and garlic, and sweat them in a pan before adding a jar of my favorite marinara sauce from the store.  The vegetables add that chunky Bolognese texture to the sauce, while adding the freshness that anything out of a jar by definition lacks.  At the last minute, I boil some fresh rigatoni, which only takes four minutes.  Toss the pasta with the doctored-up sauce, and slice the steak super thin.  The meat is so tender it comes apart like a steak Bolognese.  I think I’m going to make this again tomorrow.

Sliced Beef Filet

Who can say no?

From my weekly column Dinner for Two on Serious Eats.  Check it out every Friday!

Fresh Rigatoni and Steak "Bolognese"
serves 2 with leftovers

Steak Bolognese RigatoniINGREDIENTS

  • 1 8-ounce piece of beef tenderloin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups excellent jarred tomato and basil or marinara sauce
  • 1 pound fresh rigatoni or pennoni pasta (or use dried pasta in a pinch)
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano to taste


Position the oven rack in the top third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 450°F.  Bring a large covered pot of water to a boil for the pasta.  Once the oven is hot and the water is boiling, you’re ready to cook.

Pat the beef dry with a paper towel and season generously on all sides with salt and pepper.  Place the beef on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, and bake until the meat’s internal temperature reaches 130°F.  Depending on which end of the tenderloin you bought, it will take between 10 and 20 minutes.  Remove the steak to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and allow to rest while you make the rest of the dish.

Put the carrot, yellow onion, and garlic in the food processor and pulse 20 times.  Scrape down the sides, and pulse another 20 times.  If you don’t have a food processor, use a box grater to get a similar consistency.

In a wide, high-sided sautépan over medium heat, add the olive oil.  When the oil shimmers, add the finely chopped or grated veggies and the thyme.  Season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft and fragrant, stirring often, for about 8 minutes.  Add the tomato sauce and ½ cup of water.  Once the sauce comes to a bubble, cover it, and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

Five minutes before the sauce has finished cooking, and a handful of salt to the boiling pasta water and add in the rigatoni.  Cook until tender, but not mushy, and drain.  Add the pasta to the sauce, and keeping the pot still over low heat, gently toss the pasta and sauce together until most of the sauce is absorbed and the bottom of the pan is nearly dry.

Pour the pasta out into a serving dish, and top with grated Parmesan.  Thinly slice the steak, and arrange it over the top.  Voila!  A super-easy, high-class take on Bolognese.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Dinner for Two, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Meat, Recipes, Series, Sides, Starches

2 Responses to Fresh Rigatoni and Steak “Bolognese”

  1. Rachel says:

    Oh, I can’t get over how GOOD this looks! I’m sorely tempted to go to the store and get the ingredients to make this right now!

  2. Kerry says:

    I have to say, it is one of my favorites! Do it!