This recipe originally called for hare ragù, but since hare meat is rare and difficult to find in the U.S.--and can be quite expensive when you do find it--it's been substituted with rabbit meat in this adaptation. If, however, you do have a source of hare meat, feel free to use that instead. Hare meat, in general, is somewhat darker, tougher, and gamier than rabbit meat, a bit closer to venison in taste and texture, while rabbit meat has been compared to chicken meat.
You could also make this recipe with ground beef or any other ground meat instead. It will not have the same texture or taste, but will still be delicious! Pair this dish with an Amarone della Valpolicella Classico red wine, such as Masi Costasera. For another tasty rabbit recipe, try a hearty rabbit stew with vegetables.
[Adapted from a recipe courtesy of Victor Pena Guilera, Culinary Research & Innovation Manager, Pastificio Giovanni Rana, developed to pair with Masi Agricola wines from the Valpolicella wine-growing region.]
- For the Ragu:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 ounces carrot (finely chopped)
- 1-ounce onion (finely chopped)
- 1/2 ounce celery (finely chopped)
- 1 1/2 pounds rabbit (boneless, ground meat; hare optional)
- 5 ounces pancetta (ground)
- 1/2 cup wine (red)
- 1 bouquet garni (sage leaf, bay leaf, and rosemary)
- 8 ounces tomato puree (passata di pomodoro)
- 1 cup water
- 1 pinch fine sea salt
- 1 pinch black pepper (freshly grated)
- For the Pasta:
- 1 pkg. Giovanni Rana tagliatelle
- 10 ounces rabbit ragu
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (freshly grated, for serving)
- 1/4 to 3/4 fresh rosemary
- 1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil (extra virgin, for serving)
To make the ragù:
Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and when it is melted and foaming has subsided, add the carrot, onion, and celery.
Saute the vegetables until softened, about 10 minutes.
Add the EVOO in a saucepan, once it’s hot add carrots, onions, celery and saute all of it in butter.
Once you’ve sauteed the vegetables add the ground meat and ground pancetta and let cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the red wine and let it evaporate, about 1 minute, then add the bouquet garni to the pot.
Add the tomato puree, water, salt, pepper, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter and simmer, covered, over low heat for approximately 5 hours, or until meat is very tender.
Remove and discard the bouquet garni; set the ragù aside while you make the pasta.
To make the pasta:
Cook the tagliatelle in a large pot of salted boiling water for 1 minute, then drain and add to a large saucepan or bowl with 10 ounces of the ragù and the butter and toss to coat evenly.
Serve, garnished with a rosemary sprig and drizzled with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil, with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for sprinkling on top.