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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

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

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Returning to my love of la cucina rustica Italiana (rustic Italian cuisine), where few, fresh ingredients render simplistic yet savory dishes. Today, we go on a culinary journey to the southwestern region of Italy, Campania.

Campania, whose capital is Naples (where Pizza was conceived), is home to 10 of the 58 UNESCO sites in Italy, which include: Pompeii and Herculaneum, the Royal Palace of Caserta, the Amalfi Coast and the Historic Centre of Naples.

Campania’s cuisine varies within the region 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.

(Photo: Thomas Bormans)

Aglianico, a black grape grown in Campania, is considered, along with Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, to be one of the three greatest Italian varietals.

(Photo courtesy of Villa Matilde)

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.

(Photo courtesy of Villa Matilde)

Today’s wine pairing is from Villa Matilde, an immortal 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.

(Photo courtesy of Villa Matilde)

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!

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

Wine pairing: 2017 Villa Matilde Aglianico Campania IGP (Campania, Italy)

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 sauce (see below for freshly made recipe)

  • 6-8 long, thin cuts of prosciutto (enough to cover the butterflies 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)

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)


Pesto sauce:

  • On a blender place all ingredient and half of the oil, add more oil slowly to get it to the texture you want, some people like it course (less oil) some like it smooth (more oil).

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


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Cut the log into segments with two ties per steak.

  • 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.

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

  • 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°.

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Serve it up!

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

Family style: Serve directly on 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 a few fresh basil leaves.

Buon appetito! Enjoy!

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

About the wine… Villa Matilde is an immortal wine with more than 3000 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.

After the clusters are de- stemmed and pressed, the must is cold-macerated, then ferments for some 20 days at 20 C.

The wine is then drawn off and completes the malolactic fermentation. In stainless steel, then a traditional stay in large ovals, followed by some 3 months’ bottle ageing.

Rich in sandy clays, quartz sandstones, and fossil

2017 Villa Matilde Aglianico Campania IGP (Campania, Italy)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Tasting notes:

Appearing a shimmering red with purplish highlights, this Aglianico offers intense, long-lingering impressions of spice, wild blackberries, and ripe red berryfruit.

The palate is warm, full-bodied, and velvet-smooth. This full-volumed wine, modern in style, demonstrates in an appealing and convincing fashion its intimate bond with its terroir of origin.


100% Aglianico

Food pairing: Ideal with charcuterie, pizza and poultry dishes.



Thank you to Kobrand Wine & Spirits For providing this unique and rare wine from the Campania is region. Grazie!

For more information, visit:

For finding and purchasing this wine, check out Kobrand Wine & Spirits’ retail locator from

Just click on the link and enter your zip code and local stores and restaurants that feature these wines will show up!


Decorative wine drip collar ring provided by:

(Special discount promo code: CFW15)

(Photo: Vincenzo Marotta)

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