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Recipe: Steak and Spinach Penne

When Natasha from Five Star Foodie announced that that the April’10 “5 Star Makeover” is pasta, my brain juices started flowing. For some reason, we haven’t made pasta in a long time and soon after, a twist on an old favorite was in the making. You might have seen a similar combination in Italian restaurants with shrimp, but what I have here is made with juicy tender tenderloin steak.

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Tenderloin is actually considered a lean cut of meat. Combined with healthy vegetables, pine nuts, spices, and whole grain pasta, this dish goes hand in hand with healthy eating. I used reduced fat milk (2%) and corn starch to make the white sauce instead of heavy cream, which drops the fat content by a lot! The cheese is full fat, but oh well, we all love our cheese in moderation every now and then.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c dry whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb tenderloin steak, trimmed of fat and cut into strips
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 5 oz spinach
  • 1/2 c sun dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips
  • 1 8-oz c reduced fat milk, cold
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 c raw pine nuts
  • 1/3 c crumbled blue cheese

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve some of the boiling water.

Start with the meat while the pasta is cooking so they are both done at the same time. In a saute pan, heat the oil and saute the steak. Stir in the  garlic, salt, pepper, all spice, nutmeg, and vinegar. Saute for a few minutes. Add the spinach and sun dried tomatoes, and stir until spinach wilts.

In a large cup or bowl, stir the corn starch in cold milk until it dissolves. Make sure there are no clumps. Pour the mixture into a small sauce pan on medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens.

Pour the thickened milk onto the meat and vegetables. Remove from heat and stir in the pasta, cheese, and pine nuts. If it’s too thick, add some of the reserved water from boiling the pasta until you reach desired consistency. Serve hot.

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9 thoughts on “Recipe: Steak and Spinach Penne”

    1. Nour El-Zibdeh, RD

      Thanks Natasha! It was the first time we make it with blue cheese and we were very happy with how it came out. The nice thing about blue cheese is that it’s strong in flavor and texture so you don’t need to use much– great for going light on cheese 🙂

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