Updated: Sep. 22, 2014.
If you've been eager to try cooking with rabbit, try this hearty stew, filled with flavour. It's Stefano's favourite.
1 3/4 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
4 rabbit legs (back legs)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 sprigs of thyme
1 cup white wine
3 cups chicken stock or veal stock
3 tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
7 ounces cremini mushrooms
1 pound pappardelle
Chopped Italian parsley, for finishing
Grated Parmesan cheese, for finishing
To a small bowl, add dried porcini mushrooms. Cover with enough hot water to immerse mushrooms. Let soak until softened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and reserve soaking liquid.
Pat rabbit legs dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat. When oil is hot, add meat to pan and sear until browned on either side, about 5 to 7 minutes each side. Add thyme sprigs and white wine to pan. Cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add 3 cups stock or enough to cover the meat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover, and let simmer until the meat is tender and just starts to fall off the bones, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove meat from cooking liquid. Reserve the rabbit cooking liquid. Remove meat from the bones. Shred or dice into smaller pieces. Set aside.
Bring large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt. Add pappardelle noodles and cook pasta until al dente.
Meanwhile, start the sauce. Add 2 tbsp. oil and 2 tbsp. butter to another large skillet. When oil is hot, add onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add cremini and porcini mushrooms and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the shredded meat, 1/2 cup of the rabbit cooking liquid and the porcini soaking liquid. Stir to combine and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
Add pappardelle and toss with sauce. Remove from heat. Add 1 tbsp. butter and chopped parsley. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Finish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste. Serve.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.