I was never a fan of rabbit in my earlier years but then one day while in San Gimignano on a cold, rainy day we stepped into a small trattoria to have lunch and get out of the terrible weather. The special of the day was slow roasted rabbit cooked in olive oil, white wine and rosemary and for some reason it sounded appealing and I ordered it.
I have been a fan of anything rabbit (when properly cooked) ever since that day. Now although I have developed a whole new appreciation for rabbit for some reason I do not cook it myself at home much as you can tell by the lack of rabbit recipes onsite.
I did finally decide I wanted to try my hand at a nice meaty rabbit ragu one day and here is the recipe I used. It is really delicious served on just about any type of pasta although we chose penne pasta. This really could be a meal by itself, especially if you added a nice crisp mixed salad and some crusty Italian bread.
- 1 Pound Rabbit Pieces
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Carrot, Diced
- 1 Small Onion, Diced
- 1 Celery Stalk, Diced
- 3 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Minced
- 1 Chopped Red Chile Pepper
- 1 Cup White Wine
- 2 (14 Ounce) Cans Cherry Tomatoes (Or About 3 Cups Fresh Cut In Half)
- Salt & Pepper
- 4 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil
- Chopped Parsley
- 1 Pound Penne Pasta
- Grated Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese
- Chopped Fresh Parsley
- Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and brown the rabbit pieces on all sides, then remove to a plate.
- Add the carrot, celery, and onion to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown.
- Add the garlic and cook an additional minute or two, then add the white wine, and turn the heat up stirring the mixture to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Add the rabbit back into the pan with the tomatoes, red pepper, basil, and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook over low heat for about 2 hours until the meat begins to fall off the bones, adding a little water to the pan if needed.
- Remove the meat from the bones and return it to the pan.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
- Cook the penne in boiling salted water until it is "al dente".
- Drain and return to the pot, and add the sauce to the pasta and stir over medium heat until the sauce is well mixed with the pasta and piping hot.
- Serve in individual bowls topped with some chopped fresh parsley.
- Serve, offering grated cheese at the table.