It took 12 minutes for the first effort on goal, with Lukas Jutkiewicz's low 20-yard effort bringing a comfortable save from Reds goalkeeper Lee Camp.
Forest should have opened the scoring after 34 minutes when Andy Reid delivered a dangerous cross, but both Billy Sharp and Chris Cohen got in a muddle with the ball at their feet and Boro cleared to Adlene Guedioura, whose fierce drive was deflected over.
As the first half came to an end, Forest began to get on top and after Sharp snatched at Simon Cox's driven cross to poke an effort wide, Chris Cohen fired narrowly past Steele's left-hand post.
Steele then made the first real save of the night when he dived to his right to tip Guedioura's 18-yard shot wide.
The game finally began to open up and Grant Leadbitter then rasped a 30-yard shot inches wide of Camp's right-hand post.
In the 74th minute, Sharp was denied by the woodwork after collecting Cox's knock-on and smashing a shot past the despairing dive of Steele.
Camp then had to be alert as the play switched to the other end, diving at
Jutkiewicz's feet as he raced into the area.
Forest manager Sean O'Driscoll sent on all three substitutes with just minutes to go, and although Sharp again went close from Henri Lansbury's cross, they could not find the decisive strike.