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Rabbit Ragù with Pappardelle

Rabbit Ragu

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Serves 6.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from an Internet recipe.

Pappardelle is the second-largest flat noodle among the Italian pastas, lasagna being the largest. It is typically served with game meat such as rabbit. This recipe uses rabbit meat to make a ragù, a chunky pasta sauce, to serve over pappardelle noodles. You can use any pasta you prefer and the ragù could be made with leftover chicken or turkey.

Ingredients:

2¾ pounds (1.2kg) fresh plum tomatoes; canned is okay
2 tablespoons pure (cooking) olive oil
2½ to 3 pounds (1.1 to 1.4 kg) rabbit (bone in)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups (710ml) chicken stock, homemade or store bought broth (preferably low sodium)
1 cup (4 ounces/113g) olives (Niçoise, if you can find them)
¼ cup wine vinegar (or tarragon flavored vinegar)
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
6 ounces (170g) sopressata (also seen as soppressata) salami, finely diced (or other salami)
¾ pound (340g) pappardelle (or make your own)

Directions:

Bring water to a boil in a medium to large saucepan, enough water to immerse tomatoes. Cut an X in the bottom of each tomato. Pierce with a fork at the stem end and hold under the boiling water for about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

Peel the tomatoes, discarding the skin, and cut in half crosswise through the middle (equator). Either squeeze out the seeds or scoop out, placing in a strainer over a bowl. Push the juice through the strainer and discard the seeds. Coarsely chop the tomatoes. Add to the juice, cover, and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large enamaled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven. Season the rabbit with salt and pepper. Cook in oil over medium-high heat until lightly browned on both sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the stock to the pot and bring to a boil, deglazing the pan. Add the tomatoes, olives, vinegar, rosemary, and the browned rabbit. Cover partially and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rabbit is thoroughly cooked and tender, about 1 hour. Transfer the rabbit to a plate, cover, and set aside. Continue to simmer the sauce, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Debone the rabbit (pulling the meat from the bones with your hands), shredding the meat. Return the meat to the sauce. Add the diced sopressata and simmer 10 minutes.

Bring water to a boil, adding salt, in a large pot. Cook the pappardelle according to package directions, until al dente. Drain the pasta well and toss with a little extra virgin olive oil or butter. Divide between plates or shallow bowls. Spoon the rabbit ragù over the pappardelle and garnish with a little extra virgin olive oil. Serve hot.