Williams-Sonoma Rustic Italian: Simple, Authentic Recipes for Everyday Cooking by Domenica Marchetti includes recipes like Carrot and Winter Squash Soup with Pancetta (Zuppa di Carote e Zucca); Beets with Blood Oranges and Fennel (Barbietole con Arancia Rossa); and Grilled Lamb Chops with Herb-Almond Pesto (Costole d'Agnello Alla Brace).
Lamb is popular in the mountains of Abruzzo, where it is served roasted, in stews, and, of course, from the grill. The herb and almond pesto, I confess, is my embellishment. The bright green, tangy sauce beautifully complement the rich flavor of the seared chops.
Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to high.
To make the pesto, in a food processor, combine the basil, parsley, mint, almonds, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt and process until coarsely chopped. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil and purée to a thick consistency. Scrape the pesto into a bowl and stir in the vinegar. Set aside.
Rub the lamb chops on all sides with the 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on the grill grate and grill over medium-high to high heat until seared and nicely grill marked on the first side, about 3 minutes. Turn and grill on the second side for about 3 minutes longer for medium-rare. Transfer to a platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.
Arrange 2 chops on each of 4 dinner plates, spoon a generous dollop of pesto on the side, and serve.
Wine suggestion: Nero d'Avola, a sturdy Sicilian red, or, as a splurge, Barolo from Piedmont.
This page created January 2012
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