Saturday, February 24, 2007

Beef Filet with Mushrooms - Filetto di Manzo ai Funghi

This recipe is said to be originally from Novara in the area around Lago Maggiore. This is a pre-Alpine region northwest of Milan known for the lake, magnificent views and mushrooms. Raffaella and I are of simple people. Our passions reflect who we are. Mushrooms are part of those things we are passionate about. It is not enough to have mushrooms on the plate. They need to be nurtured and their flavor exalted and served with something equally as flavorful. A beautiful Beef Filet and the port sauce meet the requirements. I was looking for something special for Valentine’s Day and thinking about this dish it reminded me of our relationship. Individually strong, but when together, the balance kicks in, the resulting union is exponentially magnifies the individual characteristics.

The flavors are simple but decisive. The quality of the ingredients is paramount. The method of preparation will significantly change the resulting balance. Many of the local recipes will prepare the mushrooms first and then in the last minutes cook the filet separately. I think the end result is like a couple of two passionate people who are not passionate about each other. You can feel their passion, they fascinate and please but they are two separate entities. The matriarchs of Varese taught me a different way to prepare this dish and that is the recipe I am presenting here.

Our wine for this dinner: Produttori del Barbaresco Pora' Reserve.

Our side dish: Patate Arrosto con Rosmarino.


1 lb (450 g) Beef or Veal Filet (cut into two or four pieces)
1 lb (450 g) Mushrooms (the original uses fresh porcini – I used Shitake)
2 tbsp chopped Italian Parsley
½ stick (50 g) unsalted sweet cream Butter
¼ cup Port or Dry Marsala
1 cup Dry White Wine
Salt and Pepper


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Brush the mushrooms with a kitchen brush to remove any remaining dirt. Slice the mushrooms about ½ inch thick and set aside. Chop the parsley tops and set aside.

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add fresh cracked pepper and a sprinkle of salt to the butter. Sear the filet for two minutes on each side (this is rare). Remove the filets to a baking pan and place in the oven to keep warm. Since most people cook the meat directly from the refrigerator this will also assure that the internal temperature is not cold.

Pour the port into the skillet and quickly deglaze the skillet. Add the mushrooms and chopped parsley. Reduce the heat to medium low. Stir for about two minutes, coating the mushrooms with the base sauce. Add the glass of white wine and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the sauce about ¾, this will take about five minutes. Return the filet to the reduced mushrooms sauce for 1 minute and serve.

To serve: Place the filet in the center of the plate. With a ladle, place the mushrooms and sauce ½ on the meat and ½ on the plate.


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Blogger RennyBA said...

Hmmm my mouth is watering - what a lovely dish and a great post in all its details as always!
Btw: I can tell your setting the table the American way (fork to the right) LoL
Wishing you both a lovely weekend:-)

1:41 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Renny Actually that was an oversight. Raffaella had just sat down to the table and I then decided to take the foto...

1:46 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Guys I am having trouble logging in. Will be back on line as soon as I figure out what is going on.

5:35 PM


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