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Trattoria Positano
142 University Avenue, Hillcrest
(619) 294-6995

When you read a menu, and the lamb chops are listed as New Zealand lamb, you know you're getting a better product. Whether it's the feed or the care, New Zealand lamb is more tender, more flavorful, less stringy and chewy than other lamb. Of course, the way it's prepared counts too. Katerina Di Lucca knows her way around New Zealand lamb. She uses 16 to 18 ounces for each serving, braises it in a hot pan, and then bakes the rack for seven to ten minutes. While the lamb bakes, she prepares one of the two sauces. The first consists of pancetta, kalamata olives, onions, rosemary, and olive oil. These are sautéed before adding beef stock, a splash of red wine, and a touch of marinara sauce for color. The sauce is reduced and placed over the rack and between each chop. The rack is placed in a salamander (a small oven above the griddle) for a last browning. The second sauce is actually a crust prepared from brioche bread, goat cheese, and parsley that's worked into a paste. When placed in the salamander, it grows crusty. It's stronger in flavor than the ham-olive combination.

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