Rabbit with Rosemary and White Wine

10 Jul

B’s pasta recipe had my mouth watering. I love how adding sausage pieces to a pasta sauce is like adding meatballs, and I don’t know why broad beans (fava beans) are not in pasta more often. It seems a logical combination. If the pasta is a first course, then how about a bit of rabbit to follow?

This recipe is from Marcella Hazan’s book Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, which is a staple cook book for my husband and I. We made this rabbit dish a few years ago for friends, back when we didn’t even have a dining table in our tiny apartment. It was a memorable meal. Especially when the cat was slipped a taste by one of the guests and he went absolutely wild.

When I saw some meaty looking rabbit legs at the market, and Jason was back for a visit from out home in Trinidad, so it was time to make it again. It is actually a simple dish, but the final flavours are anything but.

The recipe calls for a full rabbit in pieces, but you could use all legs instead like I did.

Here is what is in the dish…

Rabbit, white wine, olive oil, celery, tomato paste, garlic, rosemary, beef bouillon, salt and pepper.

I bought farmed rabbit so I skipped the overnight soaking of the rabbit. I understand that is needed if you have a wild rabbit.

I started by adding the oil, garlic and diced celery to a pan, along with the rabbit. I chose a pan that would fit all of the pieces without overlapping. Over low heat, and with the lid on, I set this to cook for a couple of hours, turning the rabbit pieces occasionally. I think you could continue to cook until the meat is falling off the bone, so allow some more time if you can.

With the lid off I then cooked down the liquid that was in the pan from cooking the rabbit pieces.

When that liquid had reduced, in to the pan went the rosemary, wine, salt and pepper and turned the heat up to the point where the wine simmered. I mixed the bouillon cube with some tomato paste and water. When most of the wine had evaporated, I added the bouillon mixture. I kept the pan at a simmer, turning the pieces from time to time, until a thick sauce formed.

I served straight away on a platter, alongside some polenta with parmesan, a green salad and a good friend or two.

Buon appetito B. Do you mind if I picture you on a Vespa zipping around to get the ingredients for your next post?


Rabbit with Rosemary and White Wine
A recipe by Marcella Hazan from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking


A 3- to 3 1/2 lb (1.25-1.5 kg) rabbit,  cut into 8 pieces (or a range of pieces as desired, make sure they are on the bone)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup celery diced fine
1 garlic clove, peeled (I added more)
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried leaves
a pinch of salt
a healthy grind of black pepper
1 bouillon cube and 2 tablespoons tomato paste, dissolved in 1/3 cup warm water

Soak the rabbit in abundant cold water overnight, in an unheated room in cold weather or in the refrigerator. Rinse in several changes of cold water, then pat thoroughly dry with cloth or paper towels. (I understand this step is not required if your rabbit is farmed, not wild)

Choose a sauté pan that can contain all the rabbit pieces without overlapping. Put the oil, celery, garlic and the rabbit, cover tightly, and turn the heat on to low. Turn the meat occasionally, but do not leave it uncovered. (I would suggest cooking in this way until the meat is beginning to show signs of falling from the bone. A)

You will find that at the end of two hours, the rabbit has shed a considerable amount of liquid. Uncover the pan, turn the heat up to medium, and cook until all the liquid has simmered away, turning the rabbit from time to time. Add the wine, rosemary, salt and pepper. Allow the wine to simmer briskly until it has evaporated, then pour the dissolved bouillon cube and tomato paste mixture over the meat. Cook at a steady, gentle simmer for another 15 minutes or more, until the juices in the pan have formed a dense little sauce, turning the rabbit pieces over from time to time. Transfer the entire contents of the pan to a warm platter and serve promptly.

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