Lunchbreak: Labriola Ristorante and Cafe chef John Caputo makes braised rabbit leg

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Labriola Ristorante and Cafe
535 N. Michigan Avenue
(312) 955-3100

Braised Rabbit Leg

4 rabbit hind legs
1 cup gala apple cider
1 qt. chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 onion (diced)
1 carrot (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1/4 cup thyme
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup olive oil

In a braising pot over medium-high heat, heat olive oil and sear each rabbit leg to a golden brown on each side.  Remove legs and set aside.  Add vegetables to the oil and sear also to a golden brown.  Strain off the excess oil and add the white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Reduce the white wine by half then add the apple cider and chicken stock.  Add the legs back to the pan and add the vegetables and herbs.  Cover and place in a 250 degree oven and braise legs until the meat is practically falling off the bone (Approximately 2-2 1/2 hours).    When done, separate the legs from the liquid, strain, and discard the vegetables and herbs.  Save the stock, and allow to cool.  When cold, remove solidified fat and throw away, so that you have a beautifully clean rabbit stock.  Reserve until ready to use.

Fazzoletti Pasta Dough

5 large eggs
2 oz. olive oil
13 oz. all-purpose flour (00 pasta flour would be best, if available)
5 oz. semolina

On your work table or in a large bowl, mix the semolina and flour and make a well in the center of the flour.  Break your eggs and place them in the center of this well along with the oil.  With a fork, slowly mix the egg and mix in a little of the flour at a time.  Do this until all of the the flour is mixed with the egg and a rough dough forms.  Kneed for a few minutes until the dough comes together and is smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in refrigerator for 1/2 hour before rolling out.  With a pasta machine, roll out to the next to last thinnest setting in sheets.  Cut out 2” x2” squares.  Set aside until ready to use.

To Assemble:

Per person:
Fazzoletti pasta, approximately 8 pieces
3 oz. pulled rabbit leg meat
1/2 cup rabbit stock
2 Tbs sour cream
2 oz cubed winter squash, (kuri or butternut), roasted
1 cippolini onion, roasted, cut in quarters
1 oz hazelnuts, toasted, chopped
1 oz. Parmesan Reggiano, shaved

Have all your ingredients ready.  The rabbit leg is already cooked and pulled and have the squash cubed and roasted along with the cipollini onions. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. In a sauté pan, bring the rabbit stock to a boil and reduce by a third, add your rabbit meat.  After the meat is warm, whisk in the sour cream and add the squash and onion quarters.  Reserve on low heat. Add the pasta squares (fazzoletti) to the boiling water and cook approximately 1-2 minutes until soft but with an al dente bite to it.  Strain pasta and add to your rabbit mixture, bring the heat back up and let the sauce cook around the pasta for a minute.  Plate in a pasta bowl and garnish with the chopped hazelnuts and finish with the shaved Parmesan.  Serve immediately.

Baked Clams

Green Bread Crumbs

1 bunch Parsley
1/4 cup tarragon
1/4 cup dill
4 cups bread crumbs (homemade is best)

Pick herbs from stems and place in the bowl of a food processor. Process adding bread crumbs a little at a time, until bread crumbs are completely green and smooth. Spread on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper, set in a cool, dry place and let dry for a day.

The next day:

4 cloves garlic, pureed
8 anchovy filets, pureed
1 1/2 cups olive oil
salt to taste

Heat oil in saute pan over medium heat and add garlic and anchovy,  allowing them to soften in the oil, about 5 minutes. Add the bread crumbs and season with salt. Set aside until ready to use.

Garlic and Bacon Butter

2 cups unsalted butter
1/2 lb. bacon, small dice
8 cloves garlic, pureed

Allow butter to soften by sitting out at room temperature for approximately 1 hour. While softening, slowly cook the diced bacon in a saute pan over medium-low heat until all fat is rendered out and bacon becomes crisp.   Allow bacon and bacon fat to cool, but not cool enough that it hardens.  When cool, add bacon and garlic to the butter and incorporate completely, by whipping together.  Set aside in refrigerator until ready to use.

To Assemble:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Open 6 fresh clams per person and detach the clam from its bottom shell.  Place a 1/2 teaspoon of bacon-garlic butter in each bottom shell of clam.  Place the clam on top and then pat enough green bread crumbs to completely cover the clam to the inside edges of the shell. Place the clams on a baking sheet and into the oven.  Cook to heat entirely through, approximately 8 minutes.  Then, crisp up the top by placing just below the broiler for 30 seconds.  They are ready to serve.


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