Italians know food. They celebrate life through the culinary experience—cooking for their loved ones and dining with friends. But cooking like a true Italian isn't as difficult as it may sound. Because while technique certainly comes into play, there's an even greater emphasis on simple, high-quality and flavorful ingredients. Tagliata, a popular Italian dish featuring tender slices of grilled steak, is a perfect example. Completely fuss-free, you can basically count the ingredients on one hand, but it's delicious and impressive nonetheless. Known as one of the signature dishes of Florence, Tagliata alla Fiorentina is a luxurious Tuscan meal that's perfect for this time of year because it's one that begs to be eaten outside.
As far as what cut of beef to use, you can go with almost any boneless, thick-cut steak. Chefs in Tuscany prefer porterhouse, but you could opt for a sirloin or a ribeye. Flank steak works well for this too, and isn't prohibitively expensive. And while purists season tagliata only with salt, we prefer to deepen the flavors with the addition of some garlic and black pepper. Grilling over coals is, of course, always great but a gas grill or even a grill pan and a stovetop will work fine. Then you slice up the steak and serve it with some fresh arugula leaves, finishing the dish with a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of good olive oil and a few shaves of Parmigiano-Reggiano. The flavors work off one another—the richness of the meat is balanced with the peppery greens and tanginess of the lemon and cheese. With its intricate tastes and impressive appearance, your dinner guests will never suspect how easily it all came together.
1 Clove garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Boneless flank, strip or ribeye steak, cut 1 ½" to 2" thick
1 large bunch of arugula leaves
Small piece of parmesan cheese
The Italian Pantry
Up your cooking game by keeping a few of these essential items stocked. As any Italian will tell you, the better the quality of the ingredients, the tastier the dish.
Made from raw cow's milk, the ultimate Italian cheese has a nutty, earthy flavor and a grain that feels almost like cornmeal.
These canned plum tomatoes, grown in Campania, are prized for their flavor, texture, low seed-count and easily removed skin.
Opt for Italian pasta, made from only two natural ingredients: Stone-ground flour from hard winter wheat and pure spring water.
A naturally-carbonated Italian mineral water like San Pellegrino has lively bubbles, a clean yet slightly salty taste and a well-balanced acidity.
The "lubricant of life," it's used in all matters of cooking. Extra virgin, from the olives' first pressing, is known to be superior in taste.
Look for barrel-aged varieties, which have a mellow yet flavorful taste and are ideal for drizzling over a finished dish.
This post is sponsored by San Pellegrino. Practice the Art of Fine Food, every time you can.