Fourth Runner Up - 2017 Recipe Contest

Belli amici! Cooks and chefs! Foodistas! HEY…ohhh…how ya DOIN’?!

Chef Richie says: HAPPY HOLIDAYS! As 2017 comes to a close, and what a year it has been ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to celebrate! Celebrate being alive! Celebrate food, friends, and family! Celebrating all year long is a great idea too; I highly recommend doing so. However, December is unlike the other months. Magic is in the air…and in the kitchen.

December’s mouthwatering Honorable Mention recipe, submitted by Chef Aja Breuer…congratulations chef! This might have been one of the three finalists in the competition. It certainly IS delicious and some of the technique is chefly. And, I love this, the recipe calls for our sun dried tomato risotto. But there are a couple of technical points and an additional opinion (mine) or two to discuss.

The first and most important thing is this: For a succulent, tender, luscious, make you close your eyes and say “MMMmmmmmMMMMMmmmmm” experience at the dinner table, especially with lamb chops, please don’t overcook it. Although this recipe calls for a 300 degree, low and slow oven, which is great for whole prime rib, RACK of lamb, ribs, etc…

…petite lamb loin chops-not so much. Not for an hour and 20 minutes. I prefer to grill them, or pan roast them dry (to medium rare) and then add the sauce later. Just my opinion.


Braised Lamb Loin Chops in a sundried tomato sauce

4 petite lamb loin chops 1/2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt 1 14.5 oz can of beef broth
1/4 tsp pepper 1 c Bella Sun Luci Sundried Tomato Risotto
1/2 a jar of Bella Sun Luci Tomato Pesto Sauce 1/2c shredded gouda and cheddar
with whole Pine Nuts 1/4 c sliced onion
1/2 a tbsp oil 1 c water 
1 tbsp butter 

Preheat Oven to 300 degrees

For the Lamb

Dry off lamb. Coat with spices and rest at room temperature for 20 min. Heat oil in oven proof pot over medium heat. Brown lamb for 4 min on each side. Remove lamb and place aside. In the same pot add butter then onion. Sautee until translucent. Add pesto sauce and flour. Cook for 2 min. Add 3/4 c of broth. Return lamb. Cover pot and place in over for 1 hour. Halfway through turn lamb. When the lamb is done. Cook 10 more min uncovered.

For the Risotto

Add remaining broth to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add risotto stirring constantly. When there is no more liquid add 1/2 a cup of water. When the liquid is almost gone, add remaining 1/2 c of water. Risotto should cook in 15-20 min. When done, remove from heat and stir in cheese until combined. Serve with lamb.

And a piece of advice from Richie the Risottista: please stick to the directions on the package of our Bella Sun Luci risotto. This includes using only (chicken) stock, not water, and calls for butter at the end in addition to the parmesan. If you don’t already know this: we have 3 risotti in our collection: the original sun dried tomato; sun dried tomato with real Oregon wild mushrooms; and cranberry almond, which is the one I always recommend at holiday time…and whenever I want to have that bit of a different kind of flair and a touch of sweet-savory goodness.

And if you use oil in your recipe, please make it Bella Sun Luci single varietal estate-grown (we grow the olives) Arbequina extra virgin olive oil (not just any oil…chefs need to be great at attention to detail). You’ll be happy you did. Chef Aja, despite my critical remarks, I really enjoyed this dish! I think you have what it takes to become a great chef! Keep rockin’!


Now…EVERYBODY… get cookin’, buon appetito and tanto tanto amore! Happy holidays!

And arrivederci...until we meet again…


Chef Richie

Chef Richie

About Chef Richie

As corporate chef for Bella Sun Luci, Richard "Chef Richie" Hirshen, whose culinary career spans more than 30 years, plays an instrumental role in product development, recipe creation, and cooking demonstrations.

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