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Tuscan Rabbit Sauce
A classic pasta dish in Tuscany is pappardelle con lepre- wide ribbons of fresh pasta with a dark, meaty sauce made from wild hare

1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced celery
3/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 pound bacon, diced
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
a 3-pound rabbit, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 pound grated pecorino Romano

1. In a large, heavy saucepan heat the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add bacon, and cook until bacon is cooked but not too crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove vegetables and bacon and reserve.
2. Combine flour, salt, and pepper on a plate. Increase heat under pan to moderately high. Dredge rabbit pieces in flour just before cooking. Brown rabbit pieces well, a few at a time, and set aside. Drain excess fat from pan.
3. Add white wine to pan, and boil for 2 minutes, scraping up the browned bits that cling to the pan. Return rabbit to pan along with reserved vegetables and bacon. Add chicken stock, water, tomato paste, sage, and cinnamon stick. Stir well. Partially cover pan, reduce heat, and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Remove meat from pot, and when cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones. Shred meat coarsely. Return to pan.
4. Simmer, uncovered, for another 45 minutes, or until the sauce is nicely thickened and the meat is stringy and tender. Remove cinnamon stick.
5. Toss with hot pasta, and serve with pecorino Romano.

A classic pasta dish in Tuscany is pappardelle con lepre -- wide ribbons of fresh pasta with a dark, meaty sauce made from wild hare. Because wild hare is not so easy to find on these shores, we make a similar dish from domesticated rabbit. The main difference in our version is greater lightness of color and texture; we use chicken stock and white wine in place of the traditional beef stock and red wine. But there's no retrenchment in flavor -- it's a delicious sauce that tastes extremely meaty, somewhere between the tastes of chicken and veal. Serve it with fresh pappardelle or with other fresh pastas, like fettuccine or tagilatelle. Makes enough sauce for 1 pound fresh pasta