It’s hard to believe that I am almost half-way through this semester!
We have our midterm this week. I personally hate midterms and exams in our practical lab. I get so stressed out because we have to make a three-course meal with a set list of ingredients. I love being able to cook my own dishes at school but I hate being constricted and trapped with a set of ingredients that don’t make sense. We are usually missing some key items that are necessary to make most dishes. In the last semester of my culinary management program, I thought this might be to keep us on our toes, but I have realized its actually just sloppily planned pantry lists that make all us students somewhat crazy. Who designs an ITALIAN exam without the option of using balsamic vinegar, basil, or parmigiano! Crazyness. We were alllowed to bring 2 ingredients that aren’t on the list. We have to be strategic in our choices…I chose to bring finnochio (fennel), because I can use the fronds for garnish and to make a fennel oil, the outer shell and stalks to flavour stock and the bulb for roasting. I also chose to bring mozarella fresca for my antipasti. I heart fresh mozzarella.
Our major protein for this exam is coniglio…yep, rabbit… little rabbit foo-foo! Personally, I like working with rabbit, although it does look a bit like a cat. It tastes chicken-like but sweeter and very tender. We have to prepare an antipasti, a primo and a secondi. I have been experimenting with the ingredients and took some poorly lit photos of my primi and secondi practice plates. They are a bit wonky, but you get the idea.
Grilled Zucchini with Fresh Mozzarella
Zucchine Grigliati con la Mozarella Fresca
Rabbit Ragu with Pappardelle
Coniglio Ragu con Pappardelle
(worst photo of a truly awesome dish – recipe below)
Rabbit Loin in Pancetta with Caramelized Fennel
Lombo del coniglio in Pancetta con finocchio caramellato
(please excuse the terrible looking fennel oil – it looked nice in real life!
also…notice the kidney peeking out in the back!)
Coniglio Ragu con Pappardelle
Rabbit legs – 2 hind, 2 fore
50 g pancetta, diced
2 shallots, mirepoix
1 carrot, mirepoix
1 celery, mirepoix
1 leek, mirepoix
3 cloves garlic, paste
500 ml chicken stock
250 ml red wine
.6 kg tomato, blanched, peeled and roughly chopped
3 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
2 sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
Parmesan, rind and garnish
500 g flour
Pinch of salt
- Season rabbit legs with salt and pepper. Sear rabbit legs. Remove. Brown pancetta, remove. Set aside.
- Add mirepoix and garlic, sauté. Deglaze with red wine. Add rabbit, chopped tomato, stock, bay, thyme, rosemary. Simmer for 1 hour. Remove rabbit legs earlier if necessary. Set aside and let cook slightly before julienning.
- Prepare pasta dough. Let rest and roll into sheets. Hand cut pappardelle noodles.
- Puree ½ the sauce. Add back in. Reduce slightly.
- Add pancetta, rabbit for 5 minutes to warm.
- Cook pasta.
- Toss together and serve with parmesan and parsley on top.