For a rich red wine sauce that shimmers like rubies over juicy steaks of tender beef, you need to make two base sauces and combine them together until they reduce and thicken. This recipe by Chef Attilio di Fabrizio of Villa San Michele and Hotel Splendido in Portofino by Orient-Express is a tagliata of Chianina on a bed of spinach and Brunello sauce.
Chianina (pronounced kee-a-nee-na) is an Italian cattle breed that is one of the oldest in the world and famous for its blissfully flavorful steak meat. This kind of meat is rarely available in the United States but you can still make this recipe using naturally raised beef, one that has not been treated with antibiotics and hormone injections. You need a richly marbled porterhouse cut into a fat thick steak about two to three inches thick, properly dry aged for a truly intense flavor that will recreate the experience of a Chianina steak.
Another decisive ingredient in making this recipe is the choice of red wine. Chef Fabrizio uses Brunello di Montalcino to make a luxurious red wine sauce that involves two base sauces cooked separately and later combined. One is cooked with the roasted beef bones, and the other cooked with caramelized onions.
Brunello is a red Italian wine produced in Tuscany in the town of Montalcino and is considered today as one of Italy’s best and most expensive wine. You can also use Italian Sangiovese wine to make this recipe, particularly Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Carmignano, and Morellino di Scansano. From the dark-berried Sangiovese grapes, these types of wines have high acidity. Tuscan produced Sangiovese wines are distinctly bitter-sweet with hints of violets, cherry, and tea. When young, they can have a savory tomato and enhanced herbal component, which are ideal qualities for an invigorating red wine sauce to accompany superior quality beef.
Preparation & cooking: 120 min
Château de Thoiry