Lunchbreak: Gnocchetti con pesto, prepared by chef Sarah Grueneberg

Sarah Grueneberg

Monteverde
1020 W. Madison Street
Chicago
(312) 888-3041
monteverdechicago.com/

Iron Chef Gauntlet premiers Sunday, April 16, 9/8c on Food Network. For more information:

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Gnocchetti con Pesto

Serves 4 as main entrée

Ingredients:
1 pound gnocchetti pasta, or orecchiette
2 Tbs Kosher Salt
4 Tbs cold butter, unsalted, cubed
handful basil leaves
1 cup Basil Pesto
1/2 cup whole ricotta
1/4 cup grated pecorino, for garnish
2 Tbs toasted pine nuts, preferably Italian

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to boil, season with kosher salt. Add the pasta to the water and cook 1 minute less than directions specify. Using a skimmer, remove cooked pasta from pot and place in a large sauce pot or sauté pan, along with a 1/4 cup of the pasta water over medium heat.  Stir cubed butter into the sauce until thickened.  Add basil leaves and serve in bowls, then drizzle basil pesto on top (about 1/4 cup per bowl). Garnish each bowl with a few spoonfuls of ricotta, grated pecorino and toasted pine nuts.

Basil Pesto

Makes around 1 cup

Ingredients:
1 oz basil leaves (3 cups loosely packed), preferably Genovese-style
1 oz parsley leaves (about 1 cup)
1 small garlic clove
1/2 cup fruity, mild extra-virgin olive oil (plus a touch more if needed)
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt, like Maldon
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1⁄4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions:
Place blender jar in freezer to chill. Meanwhile, submerge the herbs in a large bowl of cold water add a few ice cubes; let stand 5 minutes. Using hands, gently lift leaves from water. Repeat again, using fresh cold water. Let soak for 15 minutes.  Remove blender jar from freezer. Place the garlic, salt and oil in the blender and blend until smooth. Working in batches, lift herbs from water, shaking excess but not all water from leaves (a bit of water will make a smooth pesto) add to blender.  Blend using short pulses for each addition, just to breakdown the larger leaves (do not over-blend.)  Finally, add the cheeses, and blend on medium high until smooth.  Remove and place over an ice bath and chill until cold.  Reserve for drizzling over your favorite pasta.