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Jonathan Benno

Leonelli Taberna

New York, NY

A Connecticut native Jonathan Benno loved cooking from an early age. After graduating Culinary Institute of America he worked for serval prestigious restaurants across the country including Michael Mina at Aqua, Thomas Keller at The French Laundry, and then Daniel Boulud at Daniel. After developing his culinary skills in France he returned to New York to work at both Gramercy Tavern and Craft. In 2004 he joined the team at Per Se, where he spent 6 years as the Chef de Cuisine. With Benno leading the kitchen, Per Se received top marks from The New York Times and three Michelin stars. Benno also earned the titles of 2005 StarChefs Rising Star and “Best New Chef” from Food & Wine. In 2010, he left Per Se to be the executive chef at Lincoln, where he earned yet another Michelin star and two stars from The New York Times.

Benno left Lincoln in 2017 for this his largest venture yet – leading three new restaurants all opening in 2018, within the Evelyn Hotel in Manhattan’s NoMad District. The first to open, Leonelli Taberna melds “old New York” with “old-world Italy”. The second, Leonelli Focacceria e Pasticceria will be an in-house bakery serving variously topped and filled focaccia plus Italian sweets. Both restaurants were inspired by Rome’s venerable Roscioli, a combination deli-wine bar-restaurant that operates its own bakery. The final restaurant will be a signature fine dining restaurant named Benno, opening this fall.

Chef Benno lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY with his wife, Elizabeth and two daughters. When it came time to renovate his home kitchen, he chose a full suite of BlueStar® appliances because of the restaurant-style performance it offers. His BlueStar® kitchen gave him an advantage that few chefs who are about to open their restaurants have—a place to test out recipes and experiment with menu items without having to walk out the front door. “Normally, if you’re lucky, you can ask your friend who owns a restaurant if you can sneak into their kitchen early in the morning and do some testing before they get busy. But what a luxury to be able to have product delivered to my house and test it at home.”

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Lasagna Verde

Serves 6

  • Bolognese – 4 cups
  • Fonduta – 3 cups
  • Parm, grated – 1/3 cup
  • Spinach Pasta Dough – see recipe below for 6


Spinach Pasta Dough Ingredients:

  • Pasta Fresca Flour – 1 1/2 cups
  • Durum Flour – 1 1/2 cups
  • Fresh Spinach – 1 1/4 cups
  • Eggs – 5 whole

Spinach Pasta Dough – To Make:

  1. Puree the spinach and the eggs in blender until smooth
  2. In a bowl, measure all the dry ingredients.  Place the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl fixed with the paddle attachment.
  3. On medium speed slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry.  Mix for five minutes until well combined.
  4. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook and work the dough for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove the dough from the mixer and wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  5. Divide the dough in half. Keep one half on the work surface, covered with a kitchen towel to prevent it from drying. Set up your pasta machine alongside another work surface. Lightly flour the work surface with some of the reserved sieved flour. Using a rolling pin, flatten the other dough half into a rectangle thin enough to go through the rollers at the widest setting. Pass the dough through the rollers once, then lay the resulting ribbon down on the work surface and flour it lightly. Fold into thirds lengthwise to make a rectangle and flour both sides lightly. Flatten the dough with the rolling pin until it is thin enough to go through the rollers again. With one of the two open edges going first, pass the dough through the rollers nine more times at the widest setting; after each time, flour, fold and flatten the dough as described. After ten trips through the wide rollers, the dough should be completely smooth and supple.
  6. Arrange the finished pasta sheets on the prepared baking sheets and cover with kitchen towels to prevent drying. Repeat the entire process with the second half of the dough. Cut the pasta by hand or machine as desired.


Bolognese – Ingredients:

  • Ground Beef – 1 cup
  • Ground Pork – 1 cup
  • Ground Veal – 1 cup
  • Pancetta, ground – 1/4 cup
  • Red Onion, fine chop – 1/2 of medium, onion
  • Spanish Onion, fine chop – 1/2 of medium, onion
  • Tomato Paste – 2 TBSP
  • Fennel, fine chop – 1/2 a bulb
  • Garlic, fine chop – 3 cloves
  • Bay Leaf – 1 pc
  • Olive Oil  – 3 TBSP to brown meat
  • Olive Oil – 5 TBSP to cook soffritto in
  • White Wine Dry – 1/2 cup
  • Chicken Stock (or water) – 1 cup
  • Crushed Red Chili Flake – 1 tiny pinch
  • Ground Nutmeg – 1 tiny pinch
  • Oregano, fine chop – 1 teaspoon
  • Carrots, fine chop – 1/2 a carrot

Bolognese – To Make:

1. Grind or finely chop the pancetta.
2. In a medium pot turn on flame to high. Let the pan heat up, then add 3 TBSP of olive oil. As soon as you see smoke gently add all the ground meat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Once browned on both sides pour the browned meat into a colander and drain off all the fat.
4. In the same pan, add the 5 TBSP of olive oil. Then add all the chopped vegetables, both onions, garlic, carrot and fennel. Turn heat to medium-low. Slowly caramelize until a medium golden brown.
5. Next add the tomato paste and bay leaf to the chopped vegetables. Cook for about 3-5 minutes to cook off the raw tomato paste. Then pour in the white wine and cook for another 3-5 minutes to cook off the alcohol.
6. Return the meat to the tomato/sofritto sauce. Then add the chicken stock. The sauce should simmer for about 45 minutes on a low flame.
7. Add the oregano and chili and taste for seasoning.


Fonduta – Ingredients:

  • Butter – 6 TBSP
  • AP Flour – 6 TBSP
  • Milk – 3 1/2 cups
  • Spanish Onion – 1/4 cup
  • Fontina, grated – 1/2 cup
  • Clove – 1 pc
  • Nutmeg – to taste
  • Bay Leaf – 1 pc
  • Salt – to taste

Fonduta – To Make:

1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don’t let it brown — about 2 minutes. Add the hot milk, continuing to whisk as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add onion, clove, nutmeg, bay, salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat and strain into a bowl, then add the grated Fontina. To cool this sauce for later use, cover it with wax paper or pour a film of milk over it to prevent a skin from forming.


Lasagna Verde – To Assemble:

1. Spray lasagna dish with olive oil spray before you start to build. Spread a couple of tablespoons of fonduta on the bottom of the dish, making sure it reaches all four corners. Place first layer of pasta down and press down evenly. Spread equal parts of Bolognese & Fonduta on top of the pasta sheet; make sure to spread it evenly maintaining an even layer and top with next layer of pasta. Repeat 2 more times to have a total of 4 layers of pasta and 3 layers of bolo/fonduta mixture. 3. Top last layer of pasta with the remaining fonduta and spread to cover. Sprinkle with a layer of ground Parmesan.
2. Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes or until golden brown on top and bubbly.