Straccetti con la Rucola: Little Rags of Beef with Arugula

Tiny tasty tidbits of tenderloin.
This incredibly easy dish from Rome illustrates how wonderful food can come from just a couple of simple ingredients. It’s the essence of Italian cuisine — uncomplicated and primal, with a reliance on great produce and straightforward technique. When my friend Ernesto (an Italian chef from Venice) first demonstrated this dish to me, he surprised me with his use of a cube of beef bouillon, not used to make soup or fortify a stew, but just crumbled dry and added to the natural beef juices exuded from the meat as it cooks. The bouillon kicks up the mild sweetness of the filet mignon and adds an undercurrent of beefy background to this otherwise light and refreshing dish. I have altered the dish ever so slightly for my own palate (adding a bit of garlic), but I have retained his bouillon cube, which I find essential. The recipe calls for filet mignon, which can be quite mild, almost insipid in flavor. The bouillon helps to correct this.
Slice the beef filet very, very thinly into little scraps.
It’s a very easy recipe. Just remember to cut the beef very thinly, almost roughly shaved; straccetti means “little rags” after all. Try to find the smallest fresh arugula – the thin, wild stuff if you can find it. And don’t overcook the arugula. You just want to use the residual heat from the cooked beef to slightly wilt the greens. The end result is meaty but light, perfect as part of a larger summer meal with crusty bread and a simple pasta.

You will need:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound filet mignon, trimmed of fat and silverskin
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cube of beef boullion
6 ounces fresh baby arugula

Now do this:

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Pour in olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add garlic and heat for about one minute for the garlic to infuse the oil. Turn the heat up to medium and add the beef. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Crumble the bouillon cube and add it to the juices in the pan. With a wooden spoon break up the bouillon as much as possible and stir it into the beef to distribute evenly. Cook beef, stirring occasionally, until it’s just cooked through. 


Cook the beef slowly over medium heat.


Break up and cook the bouillon in the beef’s natural juices.

 Add the arugula to the pan and immediately turn off the heat. Toss arugula with the rags of beef until evenly combined. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Toss the arugula into the cooked beef.


1 thought on “Straccetti con la Rucola: Little Rags of Beef with Arugula

  1. Pingback: Carrot Salad (Old School) | OMNIVOROUS

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