Boston Wine Expo 2016


Justin Winters

Justin Winters
Chef De Cuisine
Cinquecento & La Motta

Online Profile

Justin was raised in an Italian-American family where his passion for food was born helping his mother cook at home and at her diner in Western Connecticut. This enthusiasm brought him to the California School of Culinary Arts, where he graduated with honors before returning to the East Coast to start his culinary career in Cambridge, Massachusetts at Harvest Restaurant in Harvard Square under Chef Eric Brennan.  Where he started as an extern and quickly worked his way up to sous chef. While under Eric Brennan, Justin has had the opportunity to work at Excelsior as sous chef for three years before taking his career to the next level as executive sous chef at Sorellina. Under Chef Robert Jean’s guidance, he was able to create contemporary Italian-Mediterranean cuisine that highlighted his passion for using fresh local ingredients in simply prepared dishes, receiving recognition in Improper Bostonian’s “Best of 2008” and Boston Magazines “50 Best Restaurants” (2010 and 2011). In the fall of 2012 he joined The Aquitaine Group and opened both Cinquecento in 2012 and La Motta’s Italian Specialties in 2015, where Justin leads both culinary team as Chef de Cuisine.

Ricotta Gnocchi with White Asparagus, Lemon, Dill and Speck
Serves 4-6 people

  • 2 cups fresh ricotta. ~ 1 lb
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3/4 c AP flour
  • 2 T Evoo
  • 1 T Lemon zest
  • 2 T Dill, chopped
  • Dill for garnish
  • 1 bunch White Asparagus
  • 4 slices Speck
  • 1/4 C shaved pecorino
  • 1T lemon Zest
  • EVOO
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. In a stock pot (1-2 gl) bring water to a boil with a generous amount of salt.
  2. In a food processor or mixer with a paddle attachment.  Mix the ricotta, egg and cheese until smooth.  Add 2 t salt, lemon zest and the flour.  Mix until everything is incorporated. 
  3. Remove the dough and place on a floured work surface.  Cut the dough into 1 " thick pieces.  Roll the pieces of dough into 1" thick logs.  Once all the dough is rolled cut into 1 x 1 pieces and and place on a floured sheet pan then directly into boiling salted water.
  4. Cook the gnocchi until they start to float then continue cooking them for another 2 min.
  5. Remove the gnocchi and toss them in a bowl with a light coat of oil.  Place them on a sheet pan to cool.


  1. In a stock pot (1-2 gl) bring water to a boil with a generous amount of salt.
  2. Trim the asparagus by cutting 1" off the bottom and then peel from right below the floret down to the base of the stem.
  3. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.  Blanch the asparagus in the salted boiling water for ~1 min.  Remove the asparagus from the water and place them directly into the ice water to stop the cooking process.
  4. Once the asparagus is cooled cut into 1-1.5" bias cuts, set aside.
  5. Pre heat oven to 300 degrees. Place the speck slices onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, place another sheet on top of the speck along with another sheet pan or rack.  Cook for about 20-30 min or until the speck is crispy.  Check frequently this burns easily.
  6. Pick 1 bu dill, set aside some for garnish (6-8 frawns). chop the rest and set aside.
  7. With a peeler, pull long strips off the block or pecorino (if you do not have a block you can use grated).

For the dish:

  1. In a large sauté pan heat up 1 T Evoo over med heat.  Add the Gnocchi to the pan and cook until golden brown.  Add the cut asparagus and cook 1 minute more until warm.
  2. Drizzle in 1 T more of Evoo to the pan then add the chopped dill lemon zest and 1/2 of the pecorino.  Season with salt and pepper. Toss or stir all ingredients together.
  3. Place Gnocchi onto large serving tray and top with the crispy speck, pecorino cheese and dill frawns.
  4. Enjoy!
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