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At Pescatore, chef Kenneth Johnson and his team honor the deceptive simplicity of Italian cuisine's commitment to culinary fundamentals. The restaurant's menus showcase the importance of using a base of simple, vibrant ingredients, then adding flair and complexity. This is evident in dishes such as the eatery's ricotta appetizer, which is accented by chives, hazelnuts, clover honey, and mint, and its roasted red- and yellow-beet salad, dotted with pickled shallots and dressed with champagne-honey vinaigrette.
Competing on a National Stage
Whether he's cooking for a crowd of diners or competing on national television, Johnson uses basic techniques to craft delicious dishes. So, when faced with the daunting task of preparing a dessert using spiral ham, spiced rum, green plantains, and water chestnuts, he created a traditional streusel. Sticking to a straightforward dessert netted Johnson a first-place finish on the Food Network's Chopped—his second victory in as many appearances.
Key Ingredients at Pescatore
- San Marzano tomatoes: Italy's most iconic heirloom tomatoes lend their refreshingly tangy, slightly sweet flavor to everything from the spaghettini's pomodoro sauce to the margherita pizzas.
- House-cured pancetta: Standing in for traditional bacon, this tender sliced meat adds a Italian charm to an otherwise standard Black Angus burger.
- Handmade pasta: The restaurant's freshly prepared strands of linguine and tubes of rigatoni demonstrate the importance of starting from scratch whenever possible.
- Artichokes: Adding artichokes to a traditional pesto allows the sauce to complement the slight acidity of its lemon- and rosemary-tinged grilled chicken breast.
- Nutella: The dessert pizza's crushed hazelnuts, bananas, and salted-caramel gelato balance out the chocolate-hazelnut spread's richness.