A recipe that epitomizes the rustic simplicity of Tuscan cuisine, bistecca fiorentina, or Italian-style T-bone steak, is perfect for sharing. Though it’s usually prepared on an outdoor grill, many of us don’t have year-round access to one, so we came up with this indoor method. It is traditionally topped only with a bit of high-quality olive oil, but here we add a pat of Chianti Butter for extra indulgence. Serve it on a bed of arugula alongside some roasted potatoes and broccoli rabe.
What to buy:
You’ll have to special-order this steak, because it isn’t a typical cut. Order a 2-1/2- to 3-inch-thick porterhouse that weighs in at 2 1/2 to 3 pounds. Traditionally, the meat comes from the Maremmana or Chianina oxen, but make do with whatever high-quality meat your butcher can get for you.
If you have an outdoor grill and want to be authentic, cook this over a very hot flame. If not, try our unconventional method in which you cook the steak directly on the rack of a very hot oven. The onions, placed under the steak, serve only to absorb the meat’s drippings so that your oven doesn’t get smoky; don’t try to eat them—they’ll be charred and bitter.
While a true Tuscan will insist that this dish should only be eaten very rare, or sanguinoso, we know that most people stateside are squeamish about such things. For that reason, we have timed the cooking for medium rare, but stop cooking at 120°F if you are willing to eat the steak rare.
1Brush steak with olive oil, season well with salt and pepper, and let sit, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes. Position one oven rack in the top third of the oven, a second rack in the bottom of the oven, and heat to 500°F (not on broil).
2Fill a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with enough onions to completely cover the bottom. Place the baking dish on the lower rack. Place the steak directly on the top rack, positioned above the dish of onions. Use tongs to turn the steak after 15 minutes, and check periodically to make sure it is not burning. For medium rare, roast until the internal temperature registers 125°F, about 35 to 40 minutes.
3Discard onions and place steak on a cutting board to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. To serve, place on a bed of arugula and top with a few slices of Chianti Butter (alternatively, brush on a little high-quality extra-virgin olive oil).
Beverage pairing: A red wine from Tuscany would be delicious with this hearty dish. A Chianti would do the trick, but for something a bit more unusual, try a Rosso di Montalcino (made from Sangiovese), like the 2004 Casisano Colombaio Rosso di Montalcino.