Philly Cheesesteak Pasta

Slices of juicy steak, wholesome veggies, and an easy cheese sauce make this all-in-one pasta dish a favorite in the Fulton household.  Inspired by the classic sandwich, it’s a welcome weeknight meal and fun for casual entertaining.

When I started making this meal several years ago, it took me several tries to get the flavor and consistency of the cheese sauce just right.  Somehow, my sons always seemed to have a few buddies over when this was on the menu, and they were ideal recipe testers. Growing boys being hungry boys, they were always more than happy to dig in!

Success came when I thought about a cheese sauce I sometimes make for broccoli.  (Note to self: share that tasty side dish soon!)  That sauce relies on Cooper sharp cheese, which melts into silky smoothness and is mild yet flavorful with just the right amount of sharpness–and it proved to be the right choice in this recipe, too.

This meal requires a few pots, but we think the end result is worth a few extra dishes. Plus, with the aforementioned steak, pasta, and veggies, it’s a complete meal. If you like lots of veggies, feel free to go heavy on them and use an assortment of bell pepper colors if desired.

I have made this recipe up to two hours in advance, covered with a piece of foil, and let sit at room temperature. When ready to eat, reheat (still covered) in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until just heated through.

When serving hungry boys, I rarely have leftovers.  On the occasion that I do, they’re a treat for lunch or dinner in the coming days.

Some time ago, I came across the following passage on melting cheese by Sara Moulton.  Though I don’t recommend all these cheeses for this particular recipe, the tips can be applied whenever needed and promise cheese sauce perfection:

“Which cheeses can be melted and poured?”  While most people know that processed cheeses melt smoothly and easily into sauces, selecting a natural cheese that behaves as well isn’t always easy. Many hard grating cheeses don’t melt well and those known for their stringiness and chewy texture tend to maintain that texture when warmed, but the list of those that do melt well into sauces gives pretty much choice at the cheese counter.

If you follow the tips below, you can count on a smooth sauce when you use Asiago, Cheddar, colby, fontina, Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, Monterey Jack, or Muenster. Blue cheeses and soft cheeses such as Brie and Camembert also melt well if you remove the rind. For a smooth sauce when melting cheese:

  • bring the cheese to room temperature before using
  • grate or finely chop the cheese
  • thicken the sauce before adding the cheese
  • heat only until the cheese has melted (overheating can make the cheese harden and release fat creating a lumpy sauce)

   

Philly Cheesesteak Pasta
Yield: 6 servings
This all-in-one meal is sure to become a family favorite. For an extra hint of color and fresh flavor, garnish with a sprinkle of fresh parsley if desired.
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces flank or flat iron steak
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided use
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, divided use (plus more for pasta water)
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and sliced (may sub color of choice or use 2 for extra veggies)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced into half-moons (from tip to root)
  • 1 (12-ounce) box penne (use gluten-free pasta if necessary; may substitute similar shape pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or 2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder for GF)
  • 1 cup nonfat milk (may use 2% or whole milk)
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) shredded Cooper sharp cheese (may substitute provolone)
Directions

Freeze the flank or flat iron steak for 15-20 minutes (this will make it easy to cut thin slices).

Remove the steak from the freezer, and cut it against the grain into very thin strips. In a very large skillet (preferably a 14-inch diameter so you have room to toss everything later), heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the steak and sprinkle with the Worcestershire sauce and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, removing pieces to a plate when they have just a hint of pink left. Wipe out the skillet, and then add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and sauté the onion over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until just starting to soften. Add the bell pepper, sprinkle with another 1/4 teaspoon salt and some freshly ground pepper to taste, and stir fry another 4 to 5 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the onions are slightly golden.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions in a large pot of salted water. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain and set aside.

In a separate saucepan or small pot, melt the butter over medium heat. (Watch carefully. Once melted, butter will brown quickly.) Add the flour (or the lesser amount of cornstarch or arrowroot), and whisk for one minute. Slowly whisk in the milk, and then add the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring regularly, until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cheese, and stir until melted and smooth.

Add the cooked and drained pasta to the veggies, followed by the steak along with any drippings. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta mixture, and toss to thoroughly combine. Drizzle with a bit of the pasta cooking water if you prefer a thinner consistency. (I usually just save the pasta water and add a small amount to any leftovers as the pasta will soak up the excess moisture as it sits overnight.)

Notes:

I have made this dish up to two hours in advance, covered with a piece of foil, and let sit at room temperature. When ready to eat, reheat (still covered) in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until just heated through.

After I made this pasta recently, I was thinking Montreal Steak Seasoning would be a good option to the Worcestershire sauce.  I haven’t tried yet, but I’m thinking a tablespoon or so might work well…in case you feel like experimenting!

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

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Comments

  1. Laura Post author

    I made this for dinner last night and it was absolutely wonderful! Both kids and adults enjoyed, and it will be made again for sure!

    Reply
  2. Emmie Post author

    This was tonight’s dinner and it was SO good! I prepared it ahead of time and then warmed it in a covered dish according to your tip. Thanks so much for a great recipe!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I so often prep early and reheat…it’s sometimes the only way to get dinner on the table amidst everyone’s activities! I’m glad this worked well for you, too!

      Reply