Thursday, April 30, 2009


Once upon a time there was a wonderful restaurant, which shall be nameless, that served an incredible steak Contadina. While I'm not given to rumor-mongering, word was that they were washing more than the dishes and thus eventually closed. I found a few recipes for this dish, but they never pleased like the now-defunct restaurant's version. Then along came my copy of Carmine's Family-style Cookbook. While it isn't identical, it is absolutely fantastic and I will make it again...and again.

Let me be upfront about the changes I made. Over the years I've found myself eating fewer and fewer green peppers. At this point, I've stopped eating them altogether in favor of the sweeter red and orange and yellow peppers. So, I eliminated the 2 green peppers called for in the original recipe. Also, the original recipe serves 4 and calls for 4 sausage links and a 34-38 ounce Porterhouse. I made 6 sausage links and a 22 ounce Porterhouse, but made the same amount of vegetables called for in the original recipe. There were leftover sausage and vegetables which I used tonight for dinner.

This is a beautiful-looking dish as well as being almost too delicious for words. With it we drank a wine from my youth--Mateus. I found it in our local liquor store a few weeks ago and we've had it a few times since then. I don't like "pink" wine, but this rose is far more satisfying than a white zin.

Don't let the many steps fool you; this is not a difficult recipe. You could, in fact, do it up to the point of broiling the steak and refrigerate it. Just bring it to room temperature before heating it up in the oven while the steak broils. I can't wait to try the recipe for chicken contadina since it's healthier, but I'll be making this again, both for the two of us and for company.

Serves 2-3
6 sweet Italian sausage links
3 tbs plus 1 tsp olive oil
2 large Russett potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices, patted dry
salt and freshly ground pepper
15 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
2 large Spanish onions, each peeled and cut ino 8 thick slices
2 large red bell peppers, seeded, cored, and cut into 6 equal pieces
(if you like, also add 2 large green peppers prepared same as red)
1 1/2 lb porterhouse steak at room temperature
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup white vinegar or sweet pepper vinegar from a jar of sweet vinegar red peppers
8 fresh basil leaves, sliced
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Rub 1 tsp of the oil over the 6 sausage links and place in a small roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Place the dried potato slices in a roasting pan. Drizzle then with 1 tbs of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat all slices. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until tender and brown. Set aside.

In a medium saute pan, heat 2 tbs of the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic cloves. Slowly brown them, 5-6 minutes, making sure the oil doesn't get too hot; the garlic must cook slowly.

Add the onion slices and peppers to the saute pan with the garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until they are lightly browned and tender. Transfer to a colander and drain about 5 minutes.

Preheat a grill. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season both sides of the steak with garlic powder, salt, and pepper, rubbing the seasonings into the meat.

Spread the sausage, peppers, onions and garlic, and potatoes in a shallow baking pan and sprinkle with the oregano. Roast for about 15 minutes, stirring to encourage even heating.

While the sausage and vegetables heat, grill the steak to desired doneness. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before slicing it using the bone as a guide to slice around the filet and the sirloin.

Spread the vegetables, potatoes, and sausage on a large platter. Place the sliced steak in the center. (I wanted to put the bone in the center for presentation, but someone was already gnawing on it) Slowly sprinkle the vinegar over the meat and vegetables. Sprinkle the top with basil and parsley.

This almost screams out for some toasted Italian bread, both to sop up the juices and to spread the roasted garlic cloves on. While it wasn't the most healthful meal I've ever made, it was one of the most satisfying. All I can say about the taste is fuhgeddaboudit!


  1. I am definitely not letting my hubby look at this recipe and photo. We'd be heading to the store for some steak and it's already 8:30 here. I know he will absolutely love this dish. I've been staying away from red meat but it sure is tempting. Good job girlfriend.

  2. I think the red peppers would work better with this dish. So pretty!

  3. Arlene,
    This is a fantastic dish! Thanks for posting it!

  4. Arlene, you were one of the winners of Gloria's cookbook, Foods and Flavors of San Antonio! I'm excited for you (and Happy Cook). Please email me with your home address and an email where I can forward a copy of my ecookbook to you. My email is: . :)

  5. cut and paste before you print

  6. The restaurant you alluded to had to be the old Grotta Azzura in Little Italy, not the incarnation of it that is there now.


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