Pan-Seared Pesto-Prosciutto Steak with Aglianico, an Iconic Red Italian Wine

Returning to my love of la cucina rustica Italiana, where few, fresh ingredients render simple yet savory dishes, today we go on a culinary journey to the southwestern region of Italy: Campania, home of an iconic red Italian wine.

Campania, whose capital is Naples (birthplace of pizza), is home to 10 of the 58 UNESCO sites in Italy. These include Pompeii and Herculaneum, the Royal Palace of Caserta, the Amalfi Coast, and the Historic Centre of Naples. And Campania’s culinary traditions are just as rich. The region’s cuisine varies, and though the majority of Neapolitan dishes are centered on seafood, I am basing this new rustic dish on an ancient wine from the area…Aglianico.

Aglianico, a black grape grown in Campania, is considered, along with Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, to be one of the three greatest Italian varietals. Wines produced from Aglianico are full-bodied with firm tannins and high acidity, providing good aging potential. The bountiful flavors of the wine make it appropriate for pairing with rich meats.

Today’s wine pairing is from Villa Matilde, an iconic wine with more than 3,000 years of history. It is known to be the most prestigious and valuble wine during the Roman age and the favorite drink of the emperors and poets. Read more here: Sip Like the Romans Do.

Villa Matilde vineyards and mountain
Villa Matilde vineyards and mountain

I couldn’t agree more. Villa Matilde’s Aglianico is truly poetry in motion, transporting you to luscious and palatable ancient times.

Let‘s get cooking!


Pan-Seared flap steak stuffed with pesto, spinach, and prosciutto

Wine pairing

2017 Villa Matilde Aglianico Campania IGP (Campania, Italy)

Pan-Seared flap steak stuffed with pesto, spinach, and prosciutto

Pan Seared flap steak with pesto spinach and prosciutto and 2017 Villa Matilde Aglianico Campania
Pan-Seared flap steak with pesto, spinach and prosciutto paired with Villa Matilde Aglianico

Serves 4


  • 1 long piece of flap steak, approximately 1 and 1/2 pounds (carefully butterflied cut – horizontally, so it becomes like a sheet of beef) *if the steak is not leveled, pound it with a mallet to thin and stretch it out
  • 1/3 cup of pesto (see below for recipe)
  • 6-8 long, thin cuts of prosciutto (enough to cover the butterflied steak)
  • 1 cup of fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated Grana Padano cheese
  • 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Cracked pepper
  • Kitchen twine (string)
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Pesto sauce:

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (traditionally used) or grated Grana Padano cheese
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of pine nuts (recommend slightly roasting the pine nuts ahead of time for more intense flavor)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups of fresh basil
  • Salt/ pepper to taste (approx. 1 to 2 teaspoon each)



  1. Mix all ingredients and half the olive oil in a blender, adding in the remaining oil slowly to obtain the desired texture. Some people like it courser (less oil), while others prefer smooth (more oil).

Note: The pesto sauce can be made ahead of time. There will be leftover sauce which you can use for future pasta dishes, on pizza (as a substitute for red sauce), as a sandwich spread, or as an appetizer dip.


  1. Set the steak on a cutting board and cover the opened steak with the pesto; spread it out evenly leaving about an inch all the way around the edges. Layer the prosciutto evenly over the pesto and then cover with Grana Padano cheese and spinach.
  2. Starting from one of the long edges, tightly roll up the steak into a log. Tie the log in place with kitchen twine. Season with cracked peppers and lightly coat with olive oil.
  3. Cut the log into segments with two ties per steak.
  4. Turn oven to 350°. Heat up an oven safe skillet on medium high on the stovetop with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Wait until the oil is nice and hot, then add your steaks. Sear for a coupe of minutes, flip the steaks over and sear for a couple of minutes longer.
  5. Take your skillet and place inside the preheated oven and cook for 7-10 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches your preferred temperature. For rare, cook it to 140°, medium 155°, or well done 165°.
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Serve it up!

This dish can be served in so many ways and for assorted type of occasions. Just make sure you cut off and remove the strings before serving.

Family style: Serve directly from the pan with a side of baguette bread.

Individually: Serve on individual dishes with a dollop of pesto sauce on the side and a few slices of bread.

As an appetizer: Cut the steak portions into smaller pieces and place on top of small toasts that have been covered in pesto sauce.

Any way you serve it, make sure to add a little bit of pesto on the side, garnish with some grated Grana Padano cheese and freshly cracked pepper, and add a few fresh basil leaves.

Buon appetito! Enjoy!

Aglianico: Classic Red Italian Wine

Aglianico red Italian wine
Aglianico from Villa Matilde, Campania, Italy

Aglianico has more than 3000 years of history. It was known as the most prestigious and valuable wine during the Ancient Roman age and the favorite drink among emperors and poets of the day.

Tasting notes for Villa Matilde Aglianico Campania IGP: This Aglianico offers intense, long-lingering impressions of spice, wild blackberries, and ripe red berries. The palate is warm, full-bodied, and velvet-smooth. This full-volume wine, modern in style, demonstrates in an appealing and convincing fashion its intimate bond with its terroir of origin.

Grapes: 100% Aglianico

Food pairing: Ideal with charcuterie, pizza, and poultry dishes…as well as steak, like the above recipe.


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