No Sauce Steak Tagliatelle with Mushrooms and Black Olives.
Quality not quantity. It’s one of the most overused phrases in English dialect however in the world of cooking, it could not be more accurate. I think it’s a Kitchen rookie theory that the best recipes are the most elaborate ones. Ones that bring in a list of ingredients from the four corners of the globe and that require a sweat inducing technique to bring a plate of food to the table. While this sounds grand, you will come to learn that the fewer ingredients a recipe calls for, the more capacity it has to be even more delicious.
I’ve come to learn through my culinary experiences that when meals that contain fewer ingredients are combined in a layered way, it creates a luxurious taste that is neither equalled nor surpassed by meals with a list of extensive ones. More often than not, this is what my body craves. Even when I’m not exhausted and I’m ready to be adventurous, sometimes my body just wants a simply constructed meal using good but refined ingredients.
I believe that while you can indeed find a lot of comfort in simplicity, I also think it allows you to be more selective with your flavours and it gives room for the ingredient to really speak for itself. You are able to enjoy the meal as a whole but also enjoy the individual flavour of every ingredient – a privilege rarely afforded to meals with an itinerary of ingredients.
There was no strategy for this here recipe. It was me coming home from work of an evening and allowing my body to tell me what it wanted to eat. I had a good cut of beef in the fridge but I didn’t particularly want to make a steak because I couldn’t really be bothered to make trimmings for it. That’s when I decided I would make the heaviest flavoured dinner using the lightest amount of ingredients. Olives, with a gutsy, deep bite along with meaty mushrooms on a background of garlic and some good quality salt – it needn’t be accompanied by anything more than a squirt of lemon, parmesan and cold bottle of beer.
Bring a pan of water to a boil before adding salt and some tagliatelle pasta. Bring the water back to a boil. Fry some roughly chopped mushrooms in olive oil before adding some good quality sea salt. Mushrooms drink up oil pretty fast so you may need to add a further glug for good measure. Once they soften, add some black olives that have been halved and grate in the garlic. Once everything has softened, remove everything (including the juice) to a bowl and cover with foil.
Slice your steak cut (or just take your pre-cut beef slices) and season them will with some salt and pepper. Add them to the pan and cook to your preferred taste (I prefer rare). Rare will take roughly 2 minutes, but allow 3-4 if you want medium. Add the contents of the mushroom bowl back to the pan of steak along with a few tablespoons worth of the pasta cooking water (this helps everything emulsify together).
By this point the pasta should be cooked so drain the pasta before immediately transferring to the pan of steak and mushroom. Toss everything together liberally before squeezing in the juice of half a lemon along with a further drizzle of olive oil (extra virgin works great here with its fruit tones). Serve the pasta with a manila dust grating of parmesan cheese.
I also wanted this recipe to exercise my ethos that not everything needs a sauce. I truly do stand by this. I have said before and I will say it again, I haven’t bought a jar of pasta sauce in almost 4 years and have no intention of starting now.
But sometimes, the natural juices omitting from ingredients into a built up flavour base combined with a little oily moisturiser can provide you with a sauce tastily unparalleled with that of a jar.