Today on PAIRED RECIPES, we are exploring an essential Italian grape and matching it with an American classic. Sangiovese and steak is a pairing that dates back centuries; after all, the wine of Florence is Chianti Classico, and the most famous dish of Florence is the Bistecca alla Fiorentina. This recipe brings to mind the flavors of Tuscany, with Mediterranean touches that elegantly update this pairing for a fresher, younger Chianti Classico like Castello di Meleto.
When we discuss Chianti Classico, we tend to think of robust, age-worthy Tuscan wines with big tannins. But the consorzio of Chianti Classico has established 3 categories for their wines: Annata, Riserva, and Gran Selezione. Annata wines have less aging in tank, which gives them the freedom to be younger, brighter, and more affordable. Riserva wines are aged 24+ months in tank, resulting in powerful wines that achieve finesse from bottle aging (minimum 3 years). Gran Selezione wines are chosen by committee, have even more aging, and come from a single estate.
For this recipe, we chose an annata Chianti Classico: Castello di Meleto 2015. The fresh and vibrant profile plays perfectly with the rosemary chimichurri, a delightful fusion of a South American sauce with Italian ingredients. This dish calls for ribeye as the steak, a tender, well-marbled cut that delivers tons of meaty flavor. With a quick sear and some time in the oven, this piece of meat provides a deeply satisfying base for this Paired Recipe.
Seared Ribeye with Rosemary Chimichurri
2 boneless rib eye steaks, about 1 1/2 inches thick
Extra-virgin olive oil, to coat
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Large bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- Small bunch of oregano, leaves finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and place a cast-iron skillet inside. Remove ribeye from fridge to bring to room temperature. Coat thoroughly with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, make the chimichurri. In a small bowl, mix together the parsley, oregano, garlic, rosemary, red pepper, cumin, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the skillet from the oven (carefully!) and place the steak on the hot skillet on a burner over high heat. Cook for one minute. Flip with tongs and sear for another minute, then put the pan straight into the oven for two minutes. Flip the steak and cook for another two minutes. (This time is for medium-rare steak. If you prefer medium, add a minute to each oven turn.)
Remove the steak from the skillet. Cover loosely with foil and rest for two minutes. Leave whole or slice thin, and serve with chimichurri.