Transform leftover steak into a delicious, creamy pasta with vegetables for an easy weeknight dinner the whole family will love!
One of the best things about making a larger cut of steak like tri tip is that we usually have leftovers. Tri-tip steak is often called a roast when sold whole, and is a tender steak cut. It's also a great protein to add into a simple but delicious meal like a sandwich, tacos, or this pasta dinner. Using leftovers helps stretch our grocery budget and saves time. Our sauce and vegetables come together while the water boils and the pasta cooks, so you won't be in the kitchen all night either.
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Why you'll love this recipe:
- Fast - We can prepare everything in the time it takes to boil water, and get the sauce done while the pasta cooks.
- Creamy - While I wouldn't call this an alfredo dish because there isn't a ton of sauce, we are using cream and parmesan cheese, so the sauce does have a great creamy texture.
- Flexible- Don't like red peppers or spinach? No problem, just sub in some veggies that you do like!
Let's get started! Here's what you'll need:
Tri Tip Steak - It wouldn't be steak pasta without steak, but you can substitute any cut you like. Sirloin or leftover roast beef are great choices, and you could even use ground beef if that's what you have.
Pasta - I used rigatoni, because it has great ridges for the sauce to cling to. Also, the cooking time matches up well with how long it takes me to get the sauce finished. That said, you can use any pasta you like- elbows for a lightly cheesy tri tip mac, or even rice noodles if you need the dish to be gluten free.
Heavy Cream - Listen, I never claimed this dish was super healthy. Although we're only using half a cup, so it's nowhere near as indulgent as an alfredo. That said, you can substitue half and half or whole milk if you prefer.
Parmesan Cheese - Make sure not to melt all of it into the sauce, we want some to sprinkle on the dish after.
Butter - Salted or unsalted are both fine here. You could also use a little olive oil instead.
Garlic - Fresh garlic is ideal if you have it but pre-minced will work just fine too.
Roasted Red Peppers - You can easily roast them yourself in your air fryer, or grab a jar of them at the store. I wouldn't use green peppers in this as the sweetness from the bell pepper balances the dish nicely, but orange or yellow would be good if there are some in your fridge needing used up.
Spinach - A favorite no prep (or wash only) veggie, we'll wilt this in at the end.
Sea Salt and Black Pepper - these usual suspects are missing from the ingredients list because I'm assuming you already used them to season your now leftover steak. If that's not the case you'll likely want to add some to taste.
We need a large skillet for the sauce (and tossing the sauce and pasta together) and a large pot to boil the pasta in. Aside from that you'll need a knife and cutting board, a colander or something to drain your pasta, a measuring cup, and a spatula for stirring.
How to make this easy recipe:
Step 1: Chop & Boil
Fill your pasta pot with water and turn on your stove. While we wait for the pasta to boil, cut your roasted red peppers and leftover tri tip roast into bite sized pieces, and cut each garlic clove into thin slices if you're using fresh. Also go ahead and get everything out if the other ingredients are still in the fridge or pantry.
Step 2: Start the sauce base
Once the water boils, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Meanwhile melt the butter in your skillet and add the garlic, cooking on medium heat until fragrant. Then add the red peppers and saute for 2 minutes before adding the heavy cream.
Step 3: Developing the sauce
Once you add the cream, stir regularly for 3 minutes (remember to stir your pasta occasionally too!), then add ¼ cup parmesan and melt it into the sauce. Turn your stove down to low heat and add the leftover steak bites.
Step 4: Add the pasta
Once your pasta is al dente, pull out half a cup of pasta water and drain the rest, then toss your noodles in the sauce. Once those are incorporated add your spinach one handful at a time until it's mostly wilted. If the sauce is still too thick, add a bit of pasta water.
Step 5: Serve and Enjoy!
Serve immediately with the other ¼ cup parmesan on top.
While you won't get the starchiness without the pasta water, you can thin it with some milk or additional cream, or beef broth.
While it will give more of a beef stroganoff flavor, sour cream starts from regular cream. Because of that using milk initially and thickening it up at the end with some sour cream will give you a similar consistency and still be a tasty, creamy sauce.
If you're not a roasted pepper and spinach person, you can use red onions, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, really whatever you like! Just be sure to add them at a point in the cooking process that makes sense. Something like brocoli can handle a longer cook time than say, zucchini.
The dish is a standalone complete meal, however almost all pasta dishes are great with a side salad or garlic bread!
More tri tip recipes you may like:
Need to make it in the first place so you have leftovers? Here's how to sous vide tri tip!
Tri tip sandwiches are always a hit.
You could also substitue steak bites instead of pulled pork in these tacos from leftovers.
I hope you love the dish and it becomes a family favorite for you- if so be sure to come back and leave a star review below!
Tri Tip Pasta
- 8 oz rigatoni or other dry pasta
- 8 oz tri tip steak leftover/cooked
- 12 oz roasted red peppers two red peppers
- 6 oz baby spinach
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoon butter salted
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup parmesan divided
- Start water boiling for pasta. Meanwhile, chop tri tip and red peppers into bite sized pieces.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup pasta water from cooking.
- While pasta cooks, melt butter in a large skillet and add garlic. Once fragrant add red peppers and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add cream to skillet and cook another 3 minutes, then add half the parmesan cheese and melt it into the sauce. Once cheese is melted add tri tip and pasta.
- Add spinach until mostly wilted add pasta to the skillet and thin sauce with pasta water if needed. Serve warm with remaining parmesan.
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. It is recommended to use your preferred calculator with the actual ingredients you use for optimal accuracy.