Rabbit, native to Spain and North Africa, was first introduced to Italy in the 3rd Century BC, by the Romans. In the verdant countryside of Italy’s northern regions, wild rabbits thrive. This abundance of the local fauna informs the prevalence of rabbit in Italian cuisine, especially in the North.
Popular in Northern regions including Veneto and Tuscany, local rabbit is slowly steeped then braised in wine, resulting in a tender and intensely gamey sauce. Traditionally, Tuscan rabbit ragù sees the rabbit stewed in white wine, though we pay homage to Tuscany’s iconic red, Chianti.
Perhaps the most famous of Tuscany’s wine exports, Chianti is sometimes referred to as the ‘Bordeaux of Italy’ - a nod to its esteemed status and popularity. Though early records infer Chianti was initially produced as white wine, the much-loved modern iteration is a red blend, that features as one of the key ingredients in our sumptuous, gamey ragù.
Here, delicate rabbit meat is slowly braised in an aromatic mix of Chianti, garlic, rosemary, bay and thyme, until the meat becomes irresistibly tender. Served atop fresh pappardelle, this sumptuous, meaty ragù is certain to please.
Rabbit and Chianti ragù with pappardelle
Prep Time: 12hrs +
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Calories per serving: 566kcal
- 500g fresh pappardelle (for ingredients, see our fresh pappardelle guide)
- 500g rabbit meat, in chunks
- 500ml Chianti
- 400g chopped tomatoes
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1-2 sprigs of thyme
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Prepare a marinade by adding the rosemary, bay leaves and thyme to the Chianti.
- Chop the rabbit meat as best you can, and add to the wine and herb mixture. Allow this to steep for around 12 hours, up to a day.
- Once this time has elapsed, remove the rabbit meat and pat gently with a kitchen towel to dry. Keep the marinade to add later.
- In a dutch oven, heat a tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Once smoking, add the rabbit meat, and brown on all sides. Once browned, remove the meat from the pan and set to one side.
- Add another tablespoon of oil, before adding the onion, carrot and celery. Fry this mixture until soft and fragrant, before adding the minced garlic. Continue to fry this mixture, being careful not to burn anything.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine and herb marinade, before adding the rabbit meat back to the mixture. Add the tomatoes, and stir until well combined. Reduce the heat, and allow this mixture to simmer for around 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture seems too thick, add some water, to ensure the ragù does not become dry.
- In the meantime, prepare your fresh pappardelle using our simple guide, or by following the video below:
- Once your ragù is nicely reduced, and the meat is suitably tender, remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper as necessary, and remove the bay leaves, rosemary and thyme sprigs.
- Heat a pot of generously salted water until boiling, before adding your fresh pappardelle. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until al dente. Once cooked, strain the pasta, ensuring to reserve a little bit of the starchy cooking water.
- Transfer your pappardelle to the pan with the sauce and mix well over low heat. If you need to loosen the sauce, you can also add a few tablespoons of the cooking water kept aside (this will give your dish a nice glossy finish).
- Finally, plate the dish and garnish with a generous amount of parmesan cheese. Buon appetito.
Tried this recipe for yourself? We’d love to hear your thoughts - please leave your comments below to let us know.
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