"It's a stretch," admits Reilly. "The staff went absolutely crazy for it; the people in the restaurant that bit on it loved it. But it can be a little tough to get people to go for it." The recipe stems from a sauce he had in Italy, where people consider the internal organs "the gift of the chicken." While most Americans would beg to differ, cooking the liver in a knockout tomatoey ragù removes a layer of intimidation.

Chicken Liver Ragù
(Serves 4–6)

Ingredients

  • 2 oz porcini mushroom powder
  • 2 oz hot water
  • 1 parsnip, cut into medium dice
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lb chicken livers, cleaned of veins, soaked in milk for 1 hour, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of dry white wine

Preparation

Add the hot water to the mushroom powder and let it sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan and slowly sauté the parsnips with the onion and garlic until soft. Add one more tablespoon of olive oil, then the livers. Do not move the livers or pan, but allow them to brown and caramelize for 4–5 minutes. Next, add the mushroom liquid, tomato paste, and white wine. Tie up the cloves and bay leaf in cheesecloth, and add to the ragù. Reduce the heat to simmer, and cook for 10 minutes until the wine is reduced by half. Serve over fresh pasta with capers, balsamic vinegar, parsley, and parmesan.