In the Kitchen: Rabbit Ragu

In the Kitchen Tuesday morning, presented by Crave RI, Discover Newport brought in Father/Son Chefs Lou E. Perella (son) and Lou Perella (dad) from Perella’s Ristorante in Warren.

Rabbit Ragu (Braised Rabbit)

2T vegetable oil
1 3# rabbit, cut into 2 hind quarters, 2 front quarters, and 1 loin on the bone
1 onion, medium dice
3 celery stalks, medium dice
1 carrot, medium dice
1# button mushrooms, quartered
1 head garlic, halved
1 sprig rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
2 ea bay leaves
1 tsp fennel seed
½ tsp red chili flake
1 pint white cooking wine
24 oz crushed tomatoes
1 quart chicken broth
t.t. salt & pepper

Method

1. Season rabbit pieces with salt and pepper. In a medium heavy-bottomed pot on high heat add the oil and once it shimmers in the pan add the rabbit pieces. Sear until browned (2-3 minutes). Repeat for the other side. Once browned, remove from the pan and let rest on a separate plate.
2. Add the onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms, and garlic to the pan and roast for 5-6 minutes until the vegetables are caramelized. Season with salt and pepper. Add the herbs and spices to the pan. Once you hear a “crack” in the pan deglaze with white wine.
3. Reduce the wine by half then add the diced tomato & chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Season with salt.
4. Once the liquid boils, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the rabbit to the pot. Cover with a tight fitting lid and let simmer gently for 50 minutes (or until the rabbit is tender) Note: you may have to remove the loin and front quarters before the hind quarters are finished braising
5. After the rabbit is removed from the braise, strain the liquid from the solids and reserve the liquid for later.

Rabbit Ragu

1# slab bacon, small dice
1C water
1 onion, small dice
3 celery stalks, small dice
1 carrot, small dice
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 sprig rosemary
4 sprigs sage
4 sprigs thyme
2 ea bay leaves
1 bunch parsley stems (save leaves for later)
¼ tsp red chili flake
1 pint white wine
6 plum tomatoes, medium diced
Meat of 3# rabbit, bones discarded
Strained broth from braise
A.N. chicken broth
t.t. salt & pepper

1. Place the bacon and water in the same pot as the braise and render the bacon over high heat until the water has evaporated and the bacon is browned.
2. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook gently until the vegetable begins to become translucent in appearance (5 minutes). “Crack the herbs into the pan and add the white wine.
3. Reduce the white wine by half then add the tomato and simmer until the tomato releases its juices.
4. Add the reserved braising liquid and chili flake to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add the picked rabbit meat and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste the ragu and adjust seasoning as needed. Reserve.

Fresh Pappardelle

7 yolks (large eggs)
2 whole eggs (large eggs)
11 oz AP flour
1 tsp. Kosher salt
A.N. flour for dusting

1. In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs and salt together and transfer to a KitchenAid mixing bowl. Using the dough hook, incorporate the flour ¼ at a time on a low mixing speed. Once the flour is fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium-low and let mix for 5 minutes. *NOTE: you may need to add a touch of water or flour depending on the humidity, moisture content of the flour, size of the eggs, etc.
2. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and knead on a countertop for 5-10 minutes. You will know the dough is properly kneaded when you press a finger into the dough and it springs back. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 1 hour.
3. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Keep the pieces you are not working with wrapped in the bowl. Roll the pasta through a pasta roller, starting at number 1 and working to number 6, and dusting the sheet with flour as you go.
4. Once rolled to number 6, lay the pasta sheet on the table and cut into 1-inch strips. Bundle 3 ounces of pasta together to make one portion. Let sit on a floured tray and repeat with the remaining dough.

Finish
1 portion
1 3-oz bundle pappardelle
1/8 C Mediterranean olives, halved
1/2 lemon, zested
1T butter, unsalted
1 C rabbit ragu
2T Pecorino Romano
3T parsley, chopped
t.t. Pecorino Romano

1. Cook the pappardelle in a pot of heavily salted water (it should taste of the ocean) for 6 minutes.
2. While the pasta cooks, place the rabbit ragu, olives, and butter in a pan and gently heat. Stir occasionally in order to emulsify the ragu with the butter. Once the butter is incorporated lower the heat to a gentle simmer and add the Pecorino Romano.
3. Once the pasta is cooked, remove from the water, drain and add to the ragu with the lemon zest and parsley. Toss the pasta in the ragu and place in a bowl. Garnish with shaved Pecorino Romano (as much or as little as you like).