Rabbit Ragu with Papardelle

Rabbit is an extremely delicious meat to cook with. Similar to chicken in appearance but a more fragrant, slightly gamey taste. It’s a meat with very little fat so works cooked either very quickly or very slowly in a thick unctuous sauce. This ragu can cook for up to 3 hours but 1 hour will still provide a lovely rich sauce to coat papardelle pasta. Perfect for a cold winter’s day.

2 tablespoons butter
1kg rabbit (cut into 5 pieces)
3 whole garlic cloves (skin on)
3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion (finely diced)
1 stick celery (finely diced)
1 small carrot (finely diced)
1 bay leaf
½ cup mixed fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, basil) or 1 teaspoon dried
2 garlic cloves (sliced)
½ cup dry white wine
400g chopped tomatoes
300ml tomato passata
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (finely grated)
Dried papardelle pasta (you decide how much)

Heat the butter in a large deep frying pan until hot, then add the rabbit, garlic cloves and thyme sprigs. Fry for 5 minutes, turn over then for another 5 until nice and brown. Remove the rabbit from the pan and discard the butter, garlic and herbs. Return to the heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and bay leaf and fry over a moderate heat for 5 minutes until soft and golden. Add the fresh herbs then the wine. Let it sizzle for a minute as you scrape off anything clinging to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the tomatoes, tomato passata, tomato puree, salt, sugar and pepper and stir well. Pour in about 200ml of water then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, return the rabbit and any juices to the pan and submerge. Put on a lid and let the rabbit cook for 1 hour, turning occasionally until soft.

Remove the rabbit from the pan and using 2 forks, roughly shred the meat from the bone. Return to the sauce and then stir in the parmesan. Check for seasoning and keep warm.

Cook papardelle pasta to packet specifications.

Mix a little of the sauce with the cooked pasta then spoon into bowls. Spoon over more of the sauce, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and more parmesan then serve.

Serve with a green salad if you feel the need for green.

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