One of the things I most enjoy about travel is sampling the local cuisine. In Florence, I began noticing that something made with rabbit appeared on most menus. Ridding my mind of the image of a cute, furry, flop eared bunny, I decided to give it a try. Guess what? I liked it!
Most people bought the whole animal, but I couldn’t bring myself to think about cutting it up and asked the butcher to do the deed. I have to confess that when I got home I did throw the head away because I just couldn’t bear staring at the little face with its toothy overbite and sightless eyes. I had to keep telling myself this bunny was a food source, not a pet.
Anyway, to the recipe which was pretty simple except for shredding the meat off the bones. There are lots of little areas with only slivers, kind of like a chicken back. The challenge was totally worth the effort as the sauce turned out great. It might have been just as good with ground meat, chicken or Italian sausage substituted. Hmmm, that would have defeated the purpose, wouldn’t it?
Pappardelle sul Coniglio
1 lb. pappardelle
1 small rabbit (liver reserved)
chopped aromatic vegetables (onion, carrot, celery)
1/2 c. white wine
32 oz. can of tomatoes
salt and pepper
Add the rabbit (cut into pieces) and brown on all sides. Deglaze with the wine, season with salt and pepper and cook until the wine evaporates. Remove the rabbit from the skillet and shred the meat off the bones.
Chop the liver and add to the skillet along with the shredded rabbit meat. Add tomatoes and cook for about 30 minutes. (Don’t leave the liver out thinking no one would like it….you can’t even taste it.)
Cook the pappardelle in salted boiling water until al dente. Spoon sauce over the pasta and serve with parmigiano.
Six of us were at the table the night this was served, and I didn’t reveal the ingredients until after plates were clean. A little sneaky perhaps, but judging from the fact there were no leftovers no one seemed to mind.
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