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LambChops with Enzino's Pesto
Abbacchio A Scottadito Con Il Pesto D'Enzino
1 (1-pound) can peeled Italian tomatoes
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
1 3/4 reaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
1 (2-pound) rack of lamb, trimmed by a butcher and cut into 9 chops
The day before serving drain the tomatoes and break them up, reserving the juices.
With a large mortar and pestle, grind the garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper into a paste. Add the tomatoes and grind them into the paste. You'll do this by moving the pestle slowly and forcefully from side to side while grinding the ingredients to a homogenous red paste.
Put the paste in a large bowl and add the reserved tomato juices, the oil and mint and whisk until it has the consistency of a loose salad dressing. Let it rest for 10 minutes and it is ready to use.
If you don't have a mortar and pestle in your kitchen, let me provide you with a alternative method to effectively prepare Enzino's Pesto. Smash the garlic cloves to a pulp using the bottom of a clean saucepan. Put the crushed garlic in a wooden salad bowl and add the salt and pepper. Using the back of a large wooden spoon, mash the garlic against the side of the bowl, incorporating the rosemary, salt and pepper until it becomes an homogenous pulp. If you do not have a wooden salad bowl, improvise by using the flat surface of a wood chopping board. Place the garlic mixture in a steel bowl and continue with the rest of the recipe.
Place the lamb chops in a dish with the pesto sauce, cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight, turning at least once.
Just before cooking, remove the chops from the marinade, reserving the marinade separately. Barbecue the lamb chops over a hot charcoal grill or cook under a broiler, 3-5 minutes per side, basting frequently with the leftover reserved marinade. When the lamb is ready, keep it warm while your pour the leftover marinade into a pan and bring it to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, pour it into a sauce boat and seve along side the lamb.
for extra fragrance, use 2 thick rosemary branches, 7 to 10 inches long, tied together as your basting tool. This will not be a primary flavoring agent for the lamb, but will greatly enhance your own cooking pleasure. I can almost smell the aroma now!
You can also use this pesto as a pasta sauce. Simply reduct the garlic to 1 tablespoon and the salt to 1 teaspoon. Toss 1 1/2 cups of the pesto with 1 pound of cooked pasta and sprinkle with your choice of grated cheese.
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