Ciao'd with hot chocolate and whipped cream.

The secret to stovetop steaks? Dry them well, season generously with salt, and cook in a super-hot pan, preferably cast-iron. Turning the steaks frequently after an initial sear develops the deep brown crust that complements the juicy tenderness of the meat inside. Pesto Mashed Potatoes, enriched with buttery, herbal flavor and a hint of garlic, bring the classic mash side dish to another #dolcevitadelish level. 

Serves 4

2 boneless beef steaks, 1- to 1 ½-inches thick (about 2 pounds total), such as New York strip, rib-eye, or hanger
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for brushing pan
Pesto Mashed Potatoes

Pat steaks dry with paper towels. Generously salt on both sides, and season with pepper. Place on a paper towel-lined plate and bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes.  Pat the steaks dry again. 

Place a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over high heat. Brush the skillet lightly with olive oil. When the oil begins to smoke, add the steaks and cook without moving them, 1 minute. Flip the steaks and cook 1 minute more. Continue cooking, flipping steaks every 30 seconds. When the steaks are deep brown and crusty on each side, about 4 minutes total, check for doneness.  For medium-rare, the meat should register 120 to 125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the steak. (Steaks will continue cooking after being removed from the pan.)

Remove steak to a cutting board and tent lightly with foil. Let rest 5 minutes. Slice ½-inch thick on the diagonal or serve whole.  


Ciao'd as my husband makes dinner. Angel. 



There is nothing like a compound butter to elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary. The mixture of butter and other ingredients melts into an instant sauce when placed on cooked beef, fish or vegetables. It truly is the secret sauce.  This butter is particularly well suited to steak. Choose your cut and welcome the kudos whether it’s a weeknight family dinner or a Saturday supper with friends. 

Makes 1/2 cup

2 tablespoons finely chopped dried porcini mushrooms
1 tablespoon Marsala wine
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the mushrooms and Marsala in a ramekin or small bowl. Microwave on high for 10 seconds; let cool.

Put the butter in a sall bowl, add the mushroom mixture and using a fork, mash together until well combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, parchment paper or wax paper, with the edge closest to you forming  2-inch or so border. Fold the wrap over the butter and roll into a cylinder about 1 1/4-inches in diameter. Twist the ends of the paper to seal and wrap well in aluminum foil. Chill until solid. The butter will keep up to 2 weeks refrigerated or up to 3 months frozen.

The Steak

There are as many methods for cooking a steak as there are chefs and cookbook authors. My favorite recipe comes courtesy of The New York Times and the deliciously pragmatic Julia Moskin. I only take issue with the recipe calling for boneless meat as I am a believer that the bone lends flavor. You make your decision but for those who opt for bone-in steak, calculate more time for cooking it. Here you go: Cast-Iron Steak.  Enjoy!


An authentic Florentine T-bone steak is cut from a Chianina cow and aged for about a week. Though Chianina beef is lean, it's prized for its rich flavor and balanced texture (perhaps due to the Chianina's grazing locale in Siena, Arezzo and environs). Since we do not breed pure Chianina cattle in the United States, purchase the best steak you can find. The meat should be 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick and weigh 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 pounds. Ask for a porterhouse steak as this is the larger of the T-bone steaks. It's essential that the steak is grilled over very high heat (charcoal is best) but a cast-iron grill pan works, too...

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