Today in the food section, I wrote an essay about cool-weather cooking. (I know, we’re in a heat wave right now. But we weren’t when I wrote the story!) As part of it, I mention my recipe for Rabbit Ragu.
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 rabbit, cut into 6 or 8 pieces
Salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 small carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces thick prosciutto
3/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
5 to 6 basil leaves, torn, plus extra chopped basil for garnish
1 (28-ounce) can crushed plum tomatoes
1 cup hearty red wine
1/2 cup chicken or beef stock
1 cup frozen peas
1 pound parpardelle
Parmesan for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350.
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add rabbit and brown on both sides, about 4 minutes each side. Do not crowd — do it in batches. Remove pieces to a paper-towel lined plate. Season with salt and a lot of pepper.
Add onion, celery and carrots to the pot and saute, stirring, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in prosciutto, parsley, basil leaves and tomatoes, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Pour in wine and stock and bring to a boil. Return rabbit to the pot, cover and braise in the oven until tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Remove rabbit from the sauce with tongs or a slotted spoon and rest on a platter until cool enough to handle. Shred meat from bones, pulling into small pieces. (You can use a fork if it’s still too hot.) Return the meat to the pot. (You can make the recipe to this point and refrigerate for several days.)
Put a pot of heavily salted water on to boil and cook pasta 2 minutes shy of package directions. While pasta is cooking, add the peas to the sauce.
Drain the pasta water into your bowls to warm them, then add the pasta and a couple tablespoons of cooking water to the sauce. Stir to combine. Drain your serving bowls.
Using tongs, twist the pasta and its sauce into the bowls. Garnish with chopped basil and grated Parmesan cheese.
Yield: 4 servings.