Let's make the perfect pesto steak recipe! Juicy, tender, and bursting with flavor, this dish is sure to satisfy. My step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of crafting a steak that infused with the aromatic flavors of pesto. From selecting the finest cut of meat to mastering the art of marinating, grilling, and finally, topping it off with a luscious pesto sauce, I'll provide you with all the tips and tricks you need to elevate your steak game to new heights. Your dinner guests will think they're eating a restaurant meal and the best part? This meal uses under five ingredients!
(GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE)
The Best Cuts of Steak for Pesto Steak
When it comes to making the perfect pesto steak, choosing the right cut of meat is crucial. While personal preference plays a role, there are certain cuts that work exceptionally well with the flavors of pesto. One of the most popular cuts for pesto steak is the ribeye. Known for its marbling and rich flavor, the ribeye steak pairs beautifully with the bold flavors of pesto. Another excellent choice is the tenderloin, also known as filet mignon. This cut is prized for its tenderness and is perfect for those who prefer a leaner option. Other suitable cuts include strip loin and sirloin. Whichever cut you choose, make sure it is of high quality and well-marbled for maximum flavor.
When selecting your steak, look for cuts that are bright red in color with marbling throughout. The marbling, or the thin streaks of fat, adds flavor and juiciness to the meat. Additionally, ensure that the steak is thick enough to withstand the grilling process without losing its moisture. A thickness of at least 1 inch is recommended for optimal results. Once you have chosen your cut of steak, it's time to move on to the next step in creating the perfect pesto steak.
I used a premade prepared sauce for this recipe. But you can make up a quick homemade sauce on your own too. To make a homemade sauce you will need:
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Start by washing and drying the basil leaves thoroughly. Remove any tough stems, as they can be bitter.
In a food processor or blender, combine the basil leaves, garlic cloves, pine nuts, and grated Parmesan cheese.
Pulse the ingredients until coarsely chopped, scraping down the sides of the processor or blender as needed.
With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Give the sauce a taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Transfer the pesto sauce to a jar or container and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Marinating the Steak
Marinating the steak is a crucial step in infusing it with the vibrant flavors of pesto. This not only enhances the taste but also helps tenderize the meat. To marinate the steak, follow these simple steps:
1. Place the steak in a shallow dish or a resealable plastic bag.
2. Generously coat both sides of the steak with the homemade pesto sauce.
3. Ensure that the steak is evenly covered with the sauce, using your hands or a brush to spread it out.
4. Cover the dish or seal the bag and refrigerate 15 minutes to 2 hours, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.
Marinating the steak for an extended period allows the flavors to develop and intensify. The acid in the pesto sauce helps break down the proteins in the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful steak. When marinating, make sure the steak is fully coated with the sauce for maximum flavor infusion. Once the marinating time is up, it's time to fire up the grill and cook the steak to perfection.
Grilling the Steak
Grilling the steak is where the magic happens! this is my favorite part! The high heat of the grill seals in the juices and creates a beautiful crust on the outside, while the inside remains tender and flavorful. Follow these steps to grill your pesto steak to perfection. If you're making this meal in the winter you'll want to follow some of these cold weather grilling tips.
1. Preheat your grill to high heat, around 450°F to 500°F.
2. Remove the steak from the marinade and allow any excess sauce to drip off.
3. Season the steak with salt and pepper on both sides, if desired. The pesto sauce already adds plenty of flavor, so this step is optional.
4. Place the steak directly on the grill grates and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare, or adjust the cooking time to your desired level of doneness.
5. Avoid constantly flipping the steak, as this can prevent the formation of a nice crust. Instead, allow each side to cook undisturbed for the recommended time.
6. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steak and for desired level of doneness.
7. Once the steak reaches the desired temperature remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. This allows for a more tender steak.
Serving Suggestions for Pesto Steak
In the recipe you'll see that I serve our steak on a bed of lettuce and arugula then top it with some toasted pinenuts, parmesan cheese and a splash balsamic vinegar. But you can also serve it with some of these sides too:
Classic Sides: Serve your pesto steak with classic sides such as roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables, or a fresh green salad. The vibrant flavors of the pesto will complement these sides perfectly.
2. Pasta: Toss some cooked pasta with a spoonful of pesto sauce and serve it alongside the steak. This creates a delicious and satisfying meal that combines the best of both worlds.
3. Bruschetta: Toast some crusty bread and top it with a dollop of pesto sauce and fresh tomatoes. This simple yet flavorful appetizer pairs wonderfully with pesto steak.
4. Wine Pairings: Pair your pesto steak with a bold red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec. The rich flavors of the steak and the pesto sauce will be beautifully complemented by these robust wines.
Feel free to get creative with your serving suggestions and experiment with different flavor combinations.
Tips for Achieving the Perfect Pesto Steak
Creating the perfect pesto steak requires attention to detail and a few insider tips. Here are some additional tips to help you achieve steak perfection:
1. Bring the steak to room temperature before grilling. This allows for more even cooking and ensures that the steak cooks through properly.
2. Pat the steak dry before marinating. Excess moisture can prevent the marinade from sticking to the meat.
3. Let the steak rest before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute and results in a more tender and flavorful steak.
4. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the steak reaches the desired level of doneness. This helps avoid overcooking or undercooking the steak.
By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to mastering the art of creating the perfect pesto steak.
Leftover Pesto Sauce
If you have some leftover sauce, there are some great recipes you can try! One of my favorite lunch recipes is this pesto provolone turkey sandwich recipe. I also love to toss pesto into an easy and simple gluten free pesto pasta salad. For a simple appetizer, you can serve up some pesto mozzarella pearls. You can't go wrong with pesto pizza either! Our recipe is done in five minutes!
Italian Pesto Steak Recipe
- 2 sirloin steaks
- 4 tablespoon basil pesto
- 2 tablespoon fresh grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoon pine nuts
- 4 cups lettuce with arugula
- balsamic vinagarette optional
- To marinate the steak, pat each steak dry. Brush each side of the steak with pesto,. Place the steak in a bag to sit for 15 minutes to two hours.
- While the steak is marinating, heat up your grill. In a pan on the stove set to medium heat place the pine nuts. Toss regularly and remove from the stove when nuts become golden.
- Remove the steak from the marinade and place on the grill. Cook to desired doneness, turning the steak halfway through cooking time. Remove from grill and allow steak to rest for several minutes to distribute juices.
- Arrange the salad on each plate. Sprinkle pine nuts and parmesan cheese over the lettuce.
- Slice the steak at an angle and arrange over the salad. Drizzle with balsamic vinagarette if desired. Serve.