While researching a story on Peruvian cooking ("Peruvian Passage," June 2006), we came across tallarín saltado, a popular fusion dish that combines Asian stir-fry techniques with beef, fresh tomatoes, Asian chili sauce, and Italian spaghetti. It was a hit here at Sunset: It's fast and easy, and you can substitute other meats, vegetables, or different kinds of pasta. This is our favorite combination, using broccoli and fusilli. Prep and Cook Time: 35 minutes. Notes: Slicing the beef is easier if it has been chilled for 20 to 30 minutes in the freezer. For less spicy heat, decrease or leave out the chili sauce.
1/2 pound fusilli pasta
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound beef sirloin, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-in.-thick slices
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and cut into thin wedges
3 cups broccoli florets (about 1 in. each)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha (Asian red chili sauce)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 medium tomatoes, cut into 1-in.-thick wedges
How to Make It
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add fusilli. Cook until tender to the bite, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add beef and cook until it starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir and let it continue to brown for 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer beef to a plate, reserving oil, and set aside.
Add onion to the pan and cook, stirring often, until it begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add broccoli and cook until bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Add soy sauce, Sriracha, cilantro, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and reserved beef and cook until tomatoes begin to release their juices, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add the cooked fusilli, stir, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated or been absorbed by the pasta, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with additional soy sauce or Sriracha. Serve hot with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro, if desired.
Variations: This dish is extremely flexible, and the soy-chili sauce tastes great with any of the following additions and/or substitutions.
Chicken or shrimp: Use 1 lb. boned, skinned chicken breasts cut into 1/4-in.-thick strips, or 1 lb. medium shelled and deveined shrimp.
Other vegetables: Add your favorite green vegetable (such as green beans or zucchini) in addition to or in place of the broccoli. You can also toss in a thinly sliced red or green bell pepper or 1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage (add at the same time as the onion).
Swap pastas: Try using penne pasta instead of fusilli. Or, for a more authentically Peruvian version, use spaghetti.