This steak pasta features perfectly cooked balsamic marinated steak on top of a creamy pasta sauce tossed with spinach. Drizzle balsamic glaze on top for an easy, delicious dish.
Creamy Steak Pasta
This is the ultimate comfort food recipe! The creamy pasta is rich and satisfying and the steak packs so much protein and iron. We have options to keep this gluten-free and dairy-free (as usual!) and we just can't get enough of the balsamic glaze.
Marinating the steak in balsamic and searing it with a crispy crust makes all the difference.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
For the steak
- Sirloin steak: I love a top sirloin because it comes from the top side of the cow, making it extra tender because of it's minimal use. A similar cut of steak is the ribeye, which has a bit more marbling. Both are great options for this steak pasta!
- Balsamic vinegar: this is not to be confused with balsamic glaze! The vinegar helps break down some of the tissue in the beef and makes it even more tender.
- Salt and black pepper
For the pasta
- Fettuccine: this long, thick cut of pasta is a favorite of ours with a cream sauce. We used Barilla gluten-free fettucine. It breaks apart a little easier, but still has great texture. Penne is another great option if you have that on hand.
- Butter: we use butter as the base of the sauce to create a roux, but a quality vegan butter or coconut oil is a great dairy-free option.
- Fresh garlic: this makes all the difference!
- Flour: this ingredient is critical to thicken the cream sauce. We tested this with a 1:1 gluten free flour (like Bob's Red Mill) and it turned out great.
- Milk: whole milk or a dairy free milk are both solid options.
- Salt and pepper
- Parmesan cheese: this salty variety of cheese adds a lot of flavor to the sauce. Swap this for the similar nutty, salty ingredient, nutritional yeast, for a dairy-free option.
- Spinach: use fresh spinach if you can! We tested this with frozen and while it worked out ok, I found the fresh spinach to be much butter.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: these add a great bite of acid, flavor and texture.
What Steak to Use for Pasta?
Our favorite cuts of steak to use for pasta are ones that are naturally tender, so they don't require a ton of marinating. I also love a steak on the thinner side because they cook quickly. For these reasons, we love a good sirloin or ribeye steak. Ribeye is going to have more marbling (fat), so it will have a little richer flavor.
How to Make Steak Pasta (step by step)
- Marinate the steak: Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper and place in a ziplock bag with the balsamic vinegar and marinate for 20-30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.
- Sear the steak: Heat a large skillet over medium high heat place the marinated steak on the hot pan, without any additional oil. Discard any remaining marinade. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side or until it reaches your desired doneness. Remove the steak to a cutting board to rest.
- Make the cream sauce: Melt the butter (or vegan butter) in a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes then sprinkle in the flour (or gluten-free flour) and stir well to create a paste (aka a roux). Slowly whisk in the milk then add the salt and pepper. Continue to stir and cook for about 5 minutes, until thickened. Add the parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast) and stir until melted and/or combined.
- Cook and add the pasta: cook and simmer the pasta according to the package directions, to al dente, while the steak is marinating or the sauce is thickening. When it's done, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water for later, then drain the rest. Add the cooked pasta to the thickened sauce and mix well. If the sauce seems too thick, pour in the reserved pasta cooking water a few tablespoons at a time to reach your desired consistency.
- Stir in the veggies:Stir in the spinach and sun dried tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the spinach is wilted.
- Slice steak and top the pasta:Slice the steak into thin pieces against the grain and top the pasta. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and top with gorgonzola and parsley if desired.
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Pro Tip - Cooking Your Steak To The Right Temperature
The FDA recommends steak be cooked to 145°F for medium-rare.That results in a cooked steak with a slightly pink center. That's the way we love to enjoy this steak pasta and what I recommend, but you can look at our guide to determining beef doneness to reach your desired steak temp.
I highly recommend using or investing in an Instant Read Thermometer to help you know when the steak is done. I like to remove my steak from the heat when it reaches about 135°F to allow for 10-15 degrees of carryover cooking.
Storage and Reheating
- Store: place leftovers in an air tight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freeze: although it won't be as creamy and fresh, you can freeze steak pasta. Place in an air tight container in the freezer. If it's well sealed it should last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Reheat: allow any frozen food to come to thaw overnight in the fridge. The best way to warm up this dish is by adding the pasta back to a pan with additional milk to warm it through and thin it out. Warm the steak separately in the microwave or a pan and enjoy!
More Pasta Recipes
Creamy Balsamic Steak Pasta
- 1 1/2 lbs sirloin or ribeye steak
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 12 oz fettucine we used Gluten free
- 3 tablespoons butter or vegan butter
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons flour or 1:1 gluten free flour
- 2 cups milk or almond milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes roughly chopped
- Optional toppings: balsamic glaze, gorgonzola, fresh chopped parsley
- Large, deep skillet or dutch oven
Marinate the steak
- Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper and place in a ziplock or reusable storage bag with the balsamic vinegar and marinate in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.
Cook the pasta
- While the steak is marinating, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water then drain the pasta from the rest of the water and set aside.
Sear the steak
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Remove the steak from the fridge and place it on the hot pan, without any additional oil. Discard any remaining marinade. Cook the steak for 4 minutes on each side or until it reaches your desired doneness. We like to remove the steak when it reaches an internal temp of 135°F to allow for 5-15 degrees of carry-over cooking while it rests to achieve a medium-rare steak (145°F).
Make the cream sauce
- While the steak is resting, melt the butter, or vegan butter, in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the flour (or gluten-free flour) to the butter and stir well to create a paste, also known as a roux.
- Slowly whisk in the milk then add the salt and pepper. Continue to stir and cook for about 5 minutes, until thickened. Add the parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast) and stir until melted and/or combined.
- Stir in the cooked pasta. If the sauce seems too thick, pour in the reserved pasta cooking water a few tablespoons at a time to reach your desired consistency. Add the fresh spinach and sun dried tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the spinach is wilted.
- Slice the steak into thin pieces against the grain and top the pasta. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and top with gorgonzola and parsley if desired.