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Pasta with Lamb Ragù

At Coppa, co-chef Jamie Bissonnette doesn’t list all of his purveyors on his menu. “I’m sick of reading menus like that,” he says. But that doesn’t mean ingredients aren’t important to him. For this exceptional restaurant dish, he tosses large hollow pasta tubes (paccheri) with chunks of lamb, tomato ragù and grated Pecorino. Bissonnette finishes the dish with mint from the same pasture where the lamb grazed. When he c

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Malted Custard French Toast

Could there possibly be another French toast prepared with as much attention as the one at this bright little place in Chicago’s West Town? Here’s how Charlie Trotter alum Jeffrey Mauro makes his supersonic version: He dips thick brioche slices in a vanilla-and-malt-spiked custard (inspired by Ben & Jerry’s malt ice creams). Then he slowly cooks the slices sous vide in a hot-water bath so that every inch of the brioche absorbs the custard. Just before serving, he caramelizes the French toast in a hot pan, then serves it with marinated fruit (quince in the winter), sweet citrus-flavored whipped cream and a sprinkling of

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Pork Rillette Hand Pies

Sweet or savory, hand pies appeal to anyone with a practical nature: They’re tidy and easy to eat. No fork or knife! Olympic Provisions, a small restaurant with a superb deli counter, makes the most delicious pork rillette–filled ones. Jason Barwikowski simmers pork belly and shoulder with wine and garlic for hours, mixes it until it’s almost smooth and packs it into flaky pastry. He loves his pies because they’re good for breakfast, lunch or dinner. How practical.