Chef Jennifer Newbury
Meet our Featured Chef Jennifer Newbury-Chef/owner Fortunato, 2005 West Division, Chicago, IL, 60622 In a career that spans nearly 20 years, Jennifer Newbury has found a road less traveled in each of her many restaurant ventures. Her latest venture is the widely praised Fortunato, Chicago's favorite venue for gloriously straightforward Italian country cooking. In 1984, Newbury opened her first restaurant, Amerique, at the age of 23, in Chicago's yet-to-be gentrified River North neighborhood. In 1985, Newbury closed Amerique to opened Sole Mio, Chicago's first trattoria, in partnership with Dennis Terzak. Located in yet another "undiscovered" neighborhood, this one on the southern edge of Lincoln Park, Sole Mio developed a cult-like status soon after its opening, with lines twisting out the door into the cold Chicago winter. Newbury and Terzak, who had by then developed a solid following among Chicago diners, opened a second restaurant, transforming the shuttered Amerique space into Chez Jenny in 1987. Newbury later accepted the challenge of the position of General Manager of the elegant Harbor Grand Hotel in New Buffalo, Michigan; a vacation destination for many Chicagoans. Her love for restaurants, though, brought her back to Chicago in 1992, when she worked as a restaurant consultant and launched the private dining program at Blackbird. With Fortunato, Newbury has made a triumphant return to the kitchen. Her menu ranges from classic dishes to more creative uses of Italian ingredients and flavor combinations. Anchored by a wood-burning oven showcased in a glass-enclosed kitchen, Fortunato's menu focuses on local produce and simple presentations. Ms. Newbury's goal is to recapture the simple, ingredient-driven approach to cooking that exemplifies Italian cuisine. In Chicago, Fortunato has brought Italian hearth cooking into today's culinary environment. A graduate of Chicago's Latin School, Jennifer earned her bachelor's degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Recipes by Chef Jennifer Newbury
Whole wheat trennette with smoked chicken and mozzarella,
At Fortunato, Jennifer smokes her own chicken and mozzarella and makes the pasta by-hand, in-house.
- 8 ounces asparagus spears
- 4 ounces pancetta, cut into small dice
- 12 ounces whole wheat trenette* or fettuccine
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces skinned and boned smoked chicken breast, torn into chunks
- Fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- Cut asparagus into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Cook in boiling, salted water until just tender. Plunge into cold water to stop cooking. Gently dry spears and set aside. Saute pancetta in a small pan, stirring frequently, until golden; drain on a paper towels. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until it reaches an al dente stage; drain and set aside.
- In a saute pan large enough to hold the pasta, heat olive oil. Add chicken, asparagus, pancetta, thyme and stock and heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add pasta to the pan and heat thoroughly, tossing frequently. When ready to serve, add cheese and toss until it begins to melt. Portion into six bowls and serve.
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