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Home-grown favorites in Brooklyn

June 20, 2008 12:08:19 PM PDT
In this edition of Neighborhood Eats, we highlight a restaurant that does its best to use locally-made foods. You may not find a whole lot of produce grown in Brooklyn, but other products are made there. Like cheese. And the restaurant we headed to has an interesting relationship with the ricotta it uses. We took a trip to Lunetta, at 116 Smith Street in Boerum Hill.

Lunetta means little moon in Italian. It's a fitting name for a sliver of a restaurant that calls on the flavors of Italy while letting you feel right at home.

Chef Adam Shepard also cooks with as many local ingredients he can find, including cheese. In fact, Betsy Devine started making ricotta in his kitchen. And after a trip to Italy with Rachel Mark, the two women went into the cheese making business.

And soon enough, Salvatore Brooklyn was born. Ricotta is the only cheese they make so far, but it's quite versatile. Shepard often uses it in lieu of butter.

Instead of basil, the pesto is made with brocolli rabe. It's blanched and quickly immersed in an ice bath. It's combined with salt, pepper, pine nuts, grana padano and lemon zest, then heated with some chicken stock and fresh ricotta.

The cooked orchiette pasta is tossed in, with a little ricotta on top.

Portions tend to be on the smaller side, to get people to share.

So you can eat your Brooklyn-made cheese in a Brooklyn restaurant, and be Brooklyn proud.

Salvatore cheese is sold elsewhere, and Lunetta also has a manhattan outpost that opened about six months ago.

For more information on the restaurant, visit Lunetta-NY.com

For more on Salvatore Brooklyn cheese, visit SalvatoreBklyn.com

ORECCHIETTE WITH BROCCOLI RABE PESTO

For 1 lb. orecchiette

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed then blanched and shocked
  • 2 oz. grated Grana Padano cheese
  • 1 clove raw garlic
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 oz. olive oil
  • 2 oz. ricotta
  • 2 oz. chicken stock
  • salt and pepper - to taste

    Preparation:

  • In a food processor, add half the broccoli rabe, grated cheese, pine nuts, garlic cloves and olive oil. Mix well until everything is pesto-like. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Cook pasta until al dente.

  • In a pan, add pesto and chicken stock. Add cooked pasta. Then add ricotta cheese. Mix and adjust seasoning.

  • Garnish with more ricotta and serve.

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