Saturday, April 2, 2011

Italian Breaded Steak with Fetuccini

This was a favorite dish of mine growing up. My mother and her many sisters were great Italian cooks, but it was at one of the local Italian restaurants that I fell in love with this dish. It's not difficult to prepare and comes in two varieties, either of which will make your family very happy.

Prepare: Make your favorite pasta sauce a day or more in advance (or use a good quality jar of sauce.) This dish requires that you procure good quality, thin cut beef steaks. As I have a good Italian grocery store with in-store butcher close by, I can usually purchase the meat ready to prepare. However if you are not as fortunate, you may find beef steaks cutlets that are too thick. If so, start by pounding them into uniformly thin slices (1/4" at most) with plastic wrap over them to contain any mess this may cause. About one hour prior to your planned dinner serving time, start a pot of water heating to boil the fettuccini, heat your sauce and cut the meat into serving sizes. Place four tablespoons of oil or solid vegetable shortening (Crisco) to a skillet, and then bread the steaks.

Bread: The classic breading technique (called “a l'anglaise” in French for “in the English fashion”) should be used. If you are sometimes frustrated that your breading comes off of the meat when cooking, it is likely you are not following this standard culinary practice. To begin, I recommend you season a few tablespoons of flour with salt and pepper. Then lightly beat an egg with a tablespoon of milk or water in a low-sided dish placed next to the flour. In the third dish next to the egg mixture, add your breadcrumbs and season generously with Italian seasonings, granulated garlic, dried onion, salt, pepper and even a couple tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese if you prefer. Dry each piece of meat with a paper towel. (Drying is very important.) Then lightly coat one piece of meat first in the flour, then wet with the egg mixture and finally coat with the breading. Repeat to bread all pieces placing them directly in the hot skillet as soon as each is finished breading. While each piece cooks, quickly prepare another piece.  (In other recipes this technique should also be used when coating meats with cracker crumbs, cereal or even nuts.)

Click To
Sauté: In a moderately hot skillet, sauté each piece of meat until brown then turn with a fork to cook on the other side. Remove each piece as it is browned to a cookie sheet, sprayed with food release. When all pieces are cooked, place in the oven at 250F to keep warm while the pasta finishes cooking.

Bake: If the pieces of beef have been uniformly thin, they are already cooked through when you place them in the oven. But if you prefer thicker meat, or use this technique for some other recipe where the meat will not be cooked through when finished browning, increase the oven temperature to 400F to cook through quickly.

Serve: At this stage, I typically plate the dinner sometimes placing the breaded steak on top of the fettuccine and sometimes placing it next to it with some sauce. I sprinkle with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese and serve with a side sale. From start to finish dinner is on the table in about an hour.

Alternative finish: I do know of folks that prefer to cook the pasta until just al dente, tossing it with sauce and placing it into a baking dish. The pieces of breaded steak are then placed over the pasta and are covered with grated or sliced parmesan cheese and returned to a hot oven until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown. In my mind, this is too much like veal parmesan, but you and yours may like it. Delizioso!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent technique David, I just breaded a veal chop yesterday ... the egg does make it easier.... my recipe was straight crumb and not easy to do.
    The dish looks great and sounds like heaven!