Rich rabbit ragu pasta sauce recipe

Celebrating our new pasta masterclass, we're sharing one of our favourite romantic recipes in the lead up to Valentine's Day: Rich Rabbit Ragu.

Flavoursome and moreish, perfect to make a batch of pasta sauce ready for more than one meal. Great with broad ribbon pasta such as a pappardelle. The name derives from the verb "pappare", to gobble up - we'd agree! Also works well with our handmade scialatielli - pictured below.

Ragu and handmade pasta - Food at 52

Rich Rabbit Ragu

Makes 4-6 servings                                          

  • 1 large rabbit, from butchers cleaned & portioned
  • 100g pancetta
  • 1 fennel bulb or 2 celery sticks
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bunch oregano, chopped
  • handful thyme, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 500ml good quality chicken stock
  • 250 ml red wine 
  • handful of green olives, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons tomato puree paste
  • olive oil & light oil

Prepare the ingredients as described above.

Heat some light oil in large pan and sear the rabbit portions (on bone) until well coloured. Remove from the pan and add the pancetta, cook until it starts to turn crispy. At this point, add the carrot, onion and fennel/celery. Sauté until softened. Add the herbs and garlic and cook for another minute or two.

Pour in the wine and stock, juniper berries, bay leaves and tomato puree. Add a little sea salt and simmer very gently for 2 hours.

After this, remove the rabbit and allow to cool keeping the sauce simmering. Using your fingers to remove all of the meat from the rabbit, tearing it up as you go, and adding it back to the sauce. Reduce the sauce if it is still too liquid, it should be moist but not overly wet.

Season to taste.

*If you have the rabbit liver and kidneys, fry them along with pancetta. Remove them when coloured, chop and add them to the sauce along with the rabbit.

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