Make Ahead

braised rabbit pappardelle with mixed spring vegetables

April 11, 2015
1 Ratings
  • Serves approx. 4
Author Notes

A wonderful light and flavorful braised rabbit pasta dish with a combination of spring vegetables to celebrate the new spring season. The leftovers are almost better then the first serving and the left over braised rabbit is a quick flavorful meal when served with risotto and a green salad. —cucina di mammina

What You'll Need
  • braised rabbit
  • 3 ounces pancetta, thickly sliced, or prosciutto ends chopped thinly
  • 4 plump garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 to 3 celery ribs and leaves
  • 2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh sage leaves, (6 to 8 large leaves)
  • 1 small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 6 or so tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • two whole rabbits (fresh or previously frozen & thawed completely), about 3 lbs. or so, cut into serving pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour
  • ½ to 3/4 cups white wine
  • 1 tbsp or so red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups veal broth (or a combination of veal and vegetable broth) homemade preferred
  • resh pappardelle egg pasta and spring vegetable mixture
  • 3 to 4 large sweet carrots, peeled and cut into small slices
  • 1/2 cup or so of fresh baby brussel sprouts (trimmed and sliced in half)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups fresh frozen baby sweet peas (thawed and drained)
  • 1 box baby frozen artichokes (thawed and drained)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • olive oil
  • vegetable stock (homemade preferred)
  • homemade fresh cut pappardelle egg noodles (see recipe link) for the pappardelle, roll the pasta dough into thin sheets and then cut the wide strips by hand and lay out to dry.
  1. With a food processor, mince the pancetta or prosciutto, garlic, sage, parsley and approximately 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a fine-textured pestata (like a pesto.) Place the rabbit pieces in a large deep bowl, season all over with the sea salt and black pepper to taste, then sprinkle the flour over all the pieces and toss to coat evenly.
  2. Pour the remaining olive oil into a deep stock pot and set it over medium-high heat and begin to saute the pestata. Cook and stir until the pestata has dried a bit and just begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Lay the legs or pieces in the pan in one layer, reduce the heat, and cover the pan. Cook gently for about 10 minutes, allowing the meat to give up its juices and brown very slowly, until all the pieces are lightly golden colored on one side.
  4. Flip them over, cover the stock pot and slowly brown the second side, about another 10 minutes or so. (If the pot is not large enough for all the pieces, work in batches, remove the first batch and repeat with the second until done).
  5. Add all the cooked pieces back into the stockpot, add in the celery ribs and leaves and the white wine; saute this slowly until the wine reduces a bit. Now add the veal or veal & vegetable combo stock and the red wine vinegar to the mixture using a wooden spoon coat the pieces with the stock evenly and adjust the heat until it is cooking at a slow, simmering bubble.
  6. Leave this to cook, for about 30 minutes or more until the pan juices turn to a thick brown glaze, always turning and tumbling the rabbit pieces as it cooks to ensure even flavor and balance (remove from the heat and set aside to cool.) Once cooled a bit, remove the cooked meat from all the bones, careful as rabbit does have very small bones, etc. Place the rabbit meat back into the stock pot with the pan juices, etc. and set aside for adding to the dish later.
  7. NOTE: If the pan juices are too thin or watery at the finish, before adding in the de-boned rabbit meat; place the stock pot with the pan juices on medium heat and simmer to reduce for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or so, stir and check this often as it can stick and burn and ruin the final sauce (this final sauce will be used for the pasta dish.)
  8. In a large deep skillet, drizzle some olive oil and add a few pieces of the chopped garlic, saute lightly until aromatic. Remove the garlic and discard. Add in the cut carrots and saute for a moment or two until beginning to brown lightly; add a dose of the stock and stir gently and continue to cook on medium heat until the carrots soften a bit and the liquid reduces. Remove the carrots from the skillet and reserve the stock in a small bowl.
  9. Repeat this process with the olive oil and garlic pieces for the baby brussel sprouts and remove when tender and then repeat the process for the baby artichokes; use the reserved stock from the carrots and add more for each vegetable you are sauteing. Set all the cooked vegetables aside in their seperate bowls.
  10. In a large stock pot of boiling well salted water, cook the pappardelle noodles until soft (they cook very quickly as they are freshly made.) Drain out the noodles and palce in a large flat platter and drizzle lightly with olive oil so they do not stick.
  11. In a large medium deep skillet add your desired amount of the rabbit meat and braised meat sauce from the stock pot. Place on medium low heat until it starts to simmer lightly, add in your cooked brussels, carrots and artichokes blend gently into the sauce and let simmer very slowly and lightly.
  12. Add in the fresh peas and chopped tomatoes at the very end, these only need to warm up in the dish for 1 to 2 minutes and they are ready. Now add the cooked pappardelle to the slowly simmering sauce and add more sauce (or a good splash of additional veal stock if the sauce is too thick.) let this simmer slowly, stirring gently until the noodles are well coated. Remove from the heat and season with additional sea salt and pepper to taste before serving; serve immediately with some fresh chopped parsley for flavor and garnish.
  13. NOTE: Store the remaining rabbit meat in the refrigerator or freezer to add to risotto or future pasta dishes. Reserve and freeze any remaining braising sauce for future dishes as well in a separate container.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • cucina di mammina
    cucina di mammina
  • N

5 Reviews

cucina D. April 23, 2015
hello N! Fresh baby artichokes are even better if you can find them locally! i would braise them separately until tender (i braise in olive oil, garlic and parsley and some stock) until tender so they will simply blend right into the braise rabbit and vegetable mixture. please let me know how this recipe works out for you, would love to get your feedback and any comments on ways to improve or change it up.
N April 27, 2015
Hi CdM! Well - my first adventure chopping up a rabbit. That sure was interesting :-) For some reason, I expected it to be more like a chicken. Note: it is NOT.
This recipe is very tasty. However, it is very labor-intensive. Also, mine did not turn out looking anything like the picture.
I did braise artichokes and add them in. Yum! My first time braising baby artichokes, too, and I am officially hooked. Again, a lot of effort for the tiny yield, but the fresh taste is worth it.
I might substitute asparagus for the Brussels sprouts.
Also, I think a more white-winey sauce would be better. I used vegetable stock (morally opposed to all things veal) and I thought even that was too heavy/brown.
All things considered, this is a very yummy dish & a great way to get to use so much of the beautiful produce at the Farmers' Market. I even got fresh pasta there -- & am now a fresh pasta convert. I'm not going to make my own, but wow -- that stuff is great! Also, I put radish slices on the top of the dish for a crunch factor (& also because I cannot resist purple, pink, & white radishes).
Advice to those of you considering making this recipe: do yourself a favor and get a rabbit that is already in pieces. And plan on taking a lot of time place all your mis. Come to think of it, this would be a really good recipe for a cooking club, or a group of friends to make together.
N April 27, 2015
Oh, and I totally forgot to add that the pestata is AWESOME! I may be done with everyday pesto for life. :-)
cucina D. April 27, 2015
Ciao N :)... you just made my day with your wonderful comment & review. yes, this is indeed labor intensive. Often times I will prepare the rabbit braise and vegetables the day before and finish the dish on day two (like a weekend food project). I am so happy to hear you loved the pestata... We have used this style since my immigrant parents left Italy back in 1957. You should always mix up the vegetables with whatever is freshest and holds up best in a simple sauté or braise. I love to use Swiss chard, celery, fennel and leeks as well but I adore your radish idea, genius indeed! If you are ever in Southwest Florida, contact me as we always have friends come over for a pasta making and eating session. Thank you ever so kindly for taking the time to share your thoughts and great advise!
N April 22, 2015
I just found a farmers' market that sells rabbit! I can't wait to make this -- it sounds fantastic. Can I use fresh baby artichokes? (Maybe if I braise or roast them first?) Well, I'll let you know how it goes...