February 10, 2014 by Dewi
Silky sheets of homemade pasta layered between delicious and tender rabbit
This is a recipe for when you want to cook something a little special. For when you fancy taking a little time and putting in a bit of effort to create something delicious and impressive.
Rabbit is a wonderful meat which is sadly under appreciated by many. It’s lean, healthy, full of flavour and becomes superbly tender when cooked slowly, such as in this recipe. It’s also very cheap. I picked up a whole wild rabbit, jointed by the butcher, for £5 (yeah, a fiver) and it made four (my size) portions, but could easily stretch to feed 6 souls less greedy than myself.
This recipe takes a bit of time, so is a great one for the weekend when you want to potter around the kitchen on a Saturday afternoon. The rabbit sits in a marinade which gives it great flavour but also helps tenderise the meat. Then it goes into a lovely stew with vegetables and herbs, to blip away on the hob for a couple of hours. I use sage and rosemary here, but feel free to adapt the recipe by using any herbs you like; thyme, parsley or marjoram would all work brilliantly here. The meat will become so soft that you can pinch it from the bone with your fingers (which is actually quite an enjoyable step in this recipe).
The whole lot is then layered between thin handkerchiefs of homemade pasta.
Making your own pasta is nothing to be afraid of. Obviously, the dried pasta from the shops is great and I use it 90% of the time, but with this dish, making the pasta sheets from scratch seemed like a great way to fill the time whilst the rabbit was slowly cooking. If you have a pasta machine then great, use that. I don’t have one, so I employed a long rolling pin and plenty of elbow grease!
For the marinade:
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 4 sage leaves
- The needles from 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1 tbps olive oil (as always, I recommend Olive Branch)
For the rabbit:
- 1 wild rabbit (about 1kg), jointed
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
- 200ml white wine
- 400ml chicken stock
- 2 sprigs of rosemary, needles removed and finely chopped
- 8 sage leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
For the pasta:
- 200g ’00’ flour (sometimes labeled ‘pasta flour’) plus extra for dusting
- 2 large free range eggs
- Pinch of salt
Method – Rabbit
In a pestle and mortar, bash up the marinade ingredients to form a loose paste.
Massage this into the rabbit and leave, covered, in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
Place a deep pan over a high heat with a splash of olive oil and brown the rabbit pieces before setting them to one side.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion, carrot and celery. Sweat for 10-15 minutes until softened.
Add the garlic and chopped herbs and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Put the rabbit back in the pan and add the wine and stock.
Season carefully, turn the heat down and put the lid on. Leave to simmer over a low heat for 90 minutes.
Now, make your pasta (see below).
Once your pasta’s prepared and set aside, get back to the rabbit.
After it’s braised for 90 minutes, remove the lid and put the rabbit pieces onto a plate/board to cool for 15 minutes.
Leave the pan on the low heat without the lid so the sauce can reduce and thicken a little.
Once the rabbit is cool enough to handle, pinch away the meat and discard the bones.
Put the meat back into the sauce and add the parmesan. Turn the heat off and put the lid back on so the rabbit stays warm whilst you cook your pasta (see below).
Method – Pasta
Mix together the flour and salt and tip out onto a clean work surface.
Make a well in the middle and crack in the eggs.
Carefully bring the eggs and flout together, trying not to let the egg spill over the sides.
When the mixture has come together, knead for 10 minutes until the dough becomes elastic.
Shape the dough into a ball and cover in cling film. Place in the fried for at least 30 minutes.
(If you’re making pasta in advance, or making more than you need, then the dough can sit in the fridge for 2 days in cling film, or alternatively you can put the dough in the freezer for ages. Just make sure it’s fully defrosted before you use it.)
Once the dough has rested it will be more elastic and easier to manipulate.
Cut the dough into 2 evenly sized pieces.
Lightly flour the worktop and a long rolling pin and roll out the pasta to a kind of rectangle until it’s around 2mm thick (think 2 credit cards!)
Now cut the pasta into squares roughly the size of coasters or a beer mats you’d find down the pub.
Repeat with the rest of the dough and set aside until ready to cook.
Once you’re ready to go, place the pasta in a large pan of boiling, salted water for 2-3 minutes until al dente.
Drain the pasta and drizzle with a little olive oil.
To serve, spoon some of the stew into a pasta dish followed by a sheet of pasta, then more of the stew, then another sheet of pasta, and so on.
Top with some more freshly grated parmesan.
I enjoyed this with some lovely steamed greens (you could use cavolo nero, cabbage, kale, spinach, or a mixture)