Bistecca ai Ferri, how to cook the perfect pan seared Italian steak

Pan Seared steak

The Bistecca is one of the most known and appreciated dishes of Italian cuisine, especially for meat lovers.  Either cooked, as per tradition, on hot embers or in a cast-iron skillet. It is a high cut that sometimes includes the bone, to be cooked with a degree of “blood” cooking.  Let’s discover the characteristics of the most loved steak in the world and the technique to cook it to perfection. 

Before cooking the steak there are some important rules to respect: 

  • Take out the steak from the fridge at least 3-4 hours before cooking: in this way, when in contact with the hot skillet or grill, the temperature will not drop and undergo the stress of temperature changes to cook to perfection, otherwise it will be boiled instead of having that sought after sear.
  • Dab the steak with a paper towel before cooking it, this way you will eliminate all traces of humidity.
  • Massage the steak with a little extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and desired spices.  This will sear the outside of the steak properly so you get that nice crust. It’s important that the layer of oil that you put the steak in is minimal.
  • Do not to pierce the steak with a fork, use a tong to flip it while cooking, otherwise the juices will come out, resulting in a dryer piece of beef.

How to Pan Sear Steaks:

  • Preheat the pan over medium heat and add 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil. 
  • Sear steaks on each side 3-4 minutes until a brown crust has formed then turn steaks on their sides, and sear the edges for 1 min on each edge.
  • Melt in butter with quartered garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs. Tilt pan to spoon garlic butter over steaks and cook to your desired doneness (see chart below).
  • Remove steak and rest 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.

Cooking times and temperatures may vary with size, shape, and cut of your steak.  Test for doneness using a meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer:

  • Insert thermometer through the side of the cut, tip in the center, not touching bone or fat.
  • Remove the steaks from the heat when the thermometer is 5°F lower than the desired doneness. 
  • Rest steaks. The temperature will continue to rise while resting.

The USDA recommends steaks be cooked to 145°F (medium) and then rested for at least 3 minutes, 10 minutes would be perfect. Be sure to check with a thermometer, as color alone is not a foolproof indicator.

Here’s an easy chart to follow:


Cool red center 125° F 52 ° C


Warm red center 135° F 57 ° C


Warm pink center 145° F 63 ° C


Slightly pink center 150° F 66 ° C


Little or no pink 160° F 71 ° C


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Aurora Rosselli is an Artist, Photographer, Designer, Influencer, and Entrepreneur. Born and raised in Italy, she began her education at the Liceo Artistico and became devoted to the world of Art. After that, she enrolled at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Catania, where she continued gathering the tools necessary to express her passions you see today throughout her original artwork. She quickly gained popularity in Italy and later on her artwork was displayed in exhibits across Europe and the US. The extensive, formal background she gained of fine arts is today incorporated into her entrepreneurial perspective and has enhanced rather than formed her artistic viewpoint capturing the beautiful Art of everyday scenery and culture in her work.