The Best Cut Of Steak For Topping Off Pasta

Steak and pasta are two of the most hearty, satisfying dinners you can make, so why not combine the two? While ground beef or salted pork may be the meats more associated with pasta — like in popular dishes such as Bolognese and amatriciana — steak can make a fantastic upgrade to plenty of existing recipes. Whether it's a creamy mushroom sauce or a tangy puttanesca, the meaty, rich flavor of steak is versatile enough to serve as a protein topping that makes your pasta a little more filling and special. You just have to make sure you use the right cut, because not every steak is going to compliment your pasta experience without feeling out of place. If you want to do pasta and steak right, we are going to recommend ribeye.

Why ribeye? Well, it's mostly for the same reasons it's such a popular cut for any steak preparation: Texture and flavor. The one thing you don't want with a steak pasta is tough, chewy hunks of steak that don't meld into the dish, you want something you can eat just as easily as the tender pasta around it. Ribeye is among the softest cuts of steak, with great marbling, and it will give way to chewing just as easily as pasta. That same marbling also contributes a great, rich flavor, which will stand up to the strong taste of hearty or acidic pasta sauces.

Ribeye steaks will give you a tender texture perfect for pasta

One other great thing about ribeye for pasta is in the preparation. Being fatty and tender, it does great with quick, high-heat cooking, making it easy to sear on the side of your pasta dish without much time or effort. Cooking on medium-high heat in oil, a one-inch ribeye will cook to medium rare in three to four minutes on each side. Since all you need to do is salt it first, you can have the steak done faster than it takes to boil your pasta. Let your steak rest off the heat for a few minutes while you finish saucing your pasta, which will help it settle and stay juicy, and it will be ready to slice and top the dish right on time.

Ribeye has the best balance of attributes for pasta, but there are cases to be made for some other cuts depending on your budget. Top sirloin is a great alternative choice if you want to stray away from pricier ribeye. It doesn't have the fat and won't be as juicy as ribeye, but it's also a more tender cut and does well sliced up into small pieces, while also being more affordable. Ribeye will give you everything sirloin does and more, but it's definitely more of a treat. And if you are already choosing to add some steak to your pasta, don't you want it to be the best?