GLENN ELLEN, CA (CBS SF) – Established in 2012, Glen Ellen Star is the culmination of a decade-long dream by Chef Ari Weiswasser and his wife Erinn Benziger-Weiswasser. Resembling a quaint farmhouse while invoking a rural and rustic feeling of California wine country, Glen Ellen Star is a taste of both local and international flavors.
It is the Weiswassers’ mission to create an inviting, neighborhood-friendly restaurant that consistently exceeds expectations. Ari’s resume is impressive: he has worked at New York’s Restaurant Daniel, Picholine, and Paul Liebrandt’s Corton, where he served as Chef de Cuisine. He also had a long stint at The French Laundry in Yountville.
Ari and Erinn met in 1997 while attending the University of Colorado, Boulder. After college, Erinn pursued her interests in wine by joining the family business and Ari enrolled at CIA in Hyde Park New York to obtain a formal education in the culinary arts. In 2005 their careers crossed paths again in Manhattan and they were married two years later. The couple relocated to Sonoma, CA in 2011, with baby Noa on the way, and welcomed twin girls in March of 2013. Glen Ellen Star is the couple’s dream restaurant and they haven’t looked back since opening.
We met at the restaurant recently for our Foodie Chap interview. Chef Ari cooked an amazing LAMB RAGU (with olives a part of the ragu). It’s a dish that he will be serving at the upcoming FEAST OF THE OLIVE dinner – January 30th at RAMEKINS, Sonoma. This dish is knockout and the recipe is yours to download below.
Enjoy my tasty talk with a rock star chef behind the little gem of a spot that has made a big mark in a small town – GLEN ELLEN STAR.
Chef Ari Weiswasser’s Lamb Ragu
For the Cavatelli
- 1000g flour
- 345g + 2 whole eggs
- 115g butter melted
- 2 0z milk
- 1 T evoo
Combine well in a kitchen aid with a paddle attachment. Allow to rest 1 hour. Roll out to 1/4 inch and cut into 1/2 inch long strips. Lightly flour the surface. Feed through a Cavatelli maker. Set aside. Freeze excess pasta for later use.
For The Lamb
- Lamb shoulder bone in (About 6 pounds)
- Olive oil
- 4 heads garlic cut in 1/2
- 8 Bay leaves
- 2 T Black pepper corns
Note: If using a whole lamb, fabricate into primal cuts.
- Season lamb liberally with salt and pepper & place in a Dutch oven large enough to hold. Cover 1/2 way with olive oil. Add sachet. Bring to simmer stove top and cover with a lid. Place in a 200F oven for 4-6 hours or until falling off the bone.
- Strain, shred meat and set aside.
- Cool down oil and reserve for next time.
Note: Leave 4T of aromatic oil in the Dutch oven and return to stove top for rage.
For The Ragu
- Oil from the lamb confit
- 1 onion, small dice
- 1 red bell pepper, small dice
- 4 ea 14oz cans tomato
- 8 oz oil cured black pitted olives
- 4 artichokes, cleaned, cooked and 1/4d.
Note: Use tomato crushed in heavy puree; dinapoli brand preferred
Preheat oven to 350. Sweat onion and red bell pepper in aromatic oil until cooked through, 8 minutes. Add canned tomato and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Remove lid and simmer over medium heat until reduced slightly and darker in color. Set aside.
Black Olive Oil
- 1 cup dehydrated black pitted olives
- 1 cup olive oil
Emulsify in a vita mix until hot to the touch. Store in an air tight container.
Directions For The Dish
- Blanch 1# Cavatelli in salted boiling water until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Strain and add to a pan, large enough to fit in 1 layer.
- Add ragu, picked lamb, Olives and artichokes and bring to a simmer, combine well.
- Transfer to a family style platter or terra cotta. Garnish with Greek style yogurt, grated Parmesan, parsley and black olive oil.
For more on information,