Monday, July 13, 2009

Rabbit Ragu with Thyme and Fettuccine

I love winter cooking, where you put a bunch of fresh ingredients into a big ol' pot, cover it with stock, wine and herbs and simmer for hours. The smell alone warms the house and comforts those within.

A friend of mine brought me home some rabbit from a hunting trip and I wanted to feed many with one bunny, Ragu it is. After tasting probably the best ragu I've tried at Pendolino at the Strand in Sydney last weekend, I based my recipe on that.

1 White rabbit, portioned
1L veg stock (use beef if you want but i wanted the rabbit to shine)
1 Leek (diced)
2 Cloves Garlic (smashed over salt, diced)
1 Cup white wine
1 Good handful of fresh thyme (Pendolinos ragu used Marjoram but i decided on thyme for rabbit)
2 sticks of celery (diced)
2 carrots (diced)
flour and pepper for dusting of rabbit portions
Bay leaves
Olive oil

Lightly dust your rabbit segments in some flour and pepper ( i add any salt at the end as rabbit is salty enough so as to avoid it being to salty) and Brown in oil and butter in a thick bottomed Pot, once browned, remove from the pot and put aside, add the celery, leek and garlic, sweat in the butter and oil until translucent, deglaze with the white wine, simmer for a minute or two then return the rabbit and any juices, cover with stock, tie your bunch of thyme up with some twine and dangle into the pot like a teabag so you can remove it later add around 4 bay leaves and simmer for an hour and a half or until the meat falls from the bones, add more water if necessary. Once the meat is falling off the bones, remove the rabbit pieces and place on a chopping board, remove the bay leaves and thyme and put aside, using a bar mix, pulse the liquid in the pot until mildly consistent but not a puree', using forks, shred all meat from the rabbit bones and return to the broth, discard the bones. Simmer with the carrots, bay and thyme for a further 30 minutes, adding more water if it gets too thick as it might start to stick. Cook your pasta but time it well, you want your sauce to thicken to its optimal point as the pasta is finished, remember also that the sauce will thicken as you add the pasta. Once combined stir the sauce through the pasta with a tablespoon of butter, serve garnished with fresh thyme leaves and pecorino, or your favourite sharp Italian cheese.