$10 Designer Meal: Stuffed Shells with Gorgonzola Skirt Steak

My chest freezer has become a despairing land of forgotten foods. I can never pass up a good sale. It doesn’t matter that I don’t have any immediate need for it, into the freezer it goes. Once that door slams shut though, out of sight out of mind, like the skirt steak I got on super sale for $1.75 lb over a year ago (….OOPS!). It’s been hanging out for quite a while in my guilt complex next to the duck breast which I finally took care of at Easter. The steak seemed sad, missing its once feathered friend, so I decided to send it the same way and maybe they could meet somewhere in the hereafter.

From its long stay in the frozen hinterlands, I was concerned about the meat being tough which can be a problem with fresh skirt steak. One neglected food deserves another, so a bottle of red wine which had turned to vinegar from months of sitting in windowsill would work for a marinade, and help tenderize the meat.


Baked shells with apple chutney sauce.

The Gorgonzola, left over from salad night would go well with the beef. In walking through my pantry, I pulled some large pasta shells which I could stuff and bake. For a filling, blue cheese is a bit strong on its own, so I would have to tone it down using a milder cottage cheese or ricotta. I just needed a sauce. A tomato sauce didn’t sound right, but when I passed some jars of apple chutney, I knew that was the ticket. All in all, I only had to run out for the ricotta which I found at the corner store (just as cheap as the cottage cheese!). Here’s how it came together.

Apple Chutney Conchiglie with Gorgonzola Skirt Steak

  • 16 large pasta shells
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 8 oz. Gorgonzola blue cheese
  • 1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 12 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 c. apple chutney
  • 1 lb. skirt steak
  • 1-2 cups red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

Marinate the steak in wine; chill for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, boil pasta shells al dente in boiling water with olive oil.

Mix 3/4 of the Gorgonzola with the tomatoes, thyme, ricotta cheese and eggs.

Stuff each shell with filling and place in a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spoon apple chutney over shells. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

15 minutes before shells are done, remove steak from marinade. Rub both sides with salt and pepper. Saute on a cast iron grill over high heat. (3-5 minutes). You can use a regular pan if you don’t have a grill. Flip to cook second side, and drizzle cooked side with the remaining blue cheese.

Slice steak and serve over baked shells. I sided my dish with steamed broccoli. As a quick tip, I kept the water boiling from the pasta shells and placed the broccoli in a bamboo steamer over the boiling water while I was cooking the steak. After steaming for about 10 minutes, I drizzled with butter, salt and pepper.

Arrrh, this was so good! (So good, I turned into a pirate for a second). I was super happy with how well the steak turned out, especially considering how long it sat in the freezer and how crappy the wine was. This meal cost about $10 in all, if you don’t include the ingredients for the homemade chutney. Now lets play my favorite game: “how much woud you pay for this plate at a fancy restaurant.”

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