Pasta with rabbit is very traditional in many parts of Italy. This very tasty recipe for tagliatelle with rabbit ragu comes from the Marche region in Central Italy. It’s easy to make and full of flavour!
Tagliatelle al ragù di coniglio.
I recently returned from a trip to the Marche region. Le Marche is in Central Italy on the Adriatic coast. It’s a beautiful unspoiled part of Italy with great beaches. However, what I like most about this region is the hilly countryside which starts very close to the coast and covers two thirds of the region!
The food in Le Marche is influenced by both the land and the sea. Rabbit is a traditional and popular meat there. They often serve it de-boned, stuffed, rolled and roasted in a recipe called ‘coniglio in porchette’. However, it is also used in pasta recipes like this delicious tagliatelle with rabbit ragu.
Rabbit is very healthy meat.
I don’t know about you but I like eating rabbit. I guess I acquired a taste for it when I lived in Malta. There, rabbit is considered a national dish! Did you know that rabbit (even farmed) is a very healthy meat? It contains less fat than nearly all other meat, plus it’s high in protein and calcium but low in calories and sodium! Rabbit is also practically cholesterol free!
Because rabbit is very lean meat, I think it tastes much better cooked in a sauce or with some added fat like bacon. In fact, rabbit is actually a great meat to turn into a pasta sauce. If you try this tagliatelle with rabbit ragu or the bucatini with rabbit recipe from Ischia, I’m sure you’ll agree with me.
While I was in Le Marche, I visited a town called Campofilone. This small Medieval hilltop town is famous for a particular egg pasta called Maccheroncini di Campofilone. You can read more about this ancient type of pasta on my post ‘maccheronicini di Campofilone’. Although it’s called maccheroncini, this is not a type of maccheroni (or macaroni). This is a very fine long pasta a bit like angel hair pasta.
While I was in Campofilone, I went to see a couple of pasta makers who produce maccheroncini di Campofilone. These small artisan pasta companies also make other types of dried egg pasta. I was thrilled to be given some different pastas to try.
So, I made this pasta with rabbit ragu with tagliatelle from a company called Pasta Marilungo. Apart from maccheronicini di Campofilone IGP, Pasta Marilungo produce about 30+ different kinds of pasta; long and short shapes, organic pasta and flavoured pasta. The latter includes spinach pasta, truffle pasta and squid ink pasta! All of which I have in my larder waiting to be cooked!
Pasta Marilungo’s pasta is made with Italian wheat from Marche, Umbria or Tuscany. Being an egg pasta, there’s no water in it, just eggs. The eggs are all pasteurized and come from nearby free range farms.
As you can imagine this tagliatelle was exceptionally good. Interestingly, this dried egg pasta loses 40% of its volume during the slow drying process. It regains its original volume when cooked. So, for my tagliatelle with rabbit ragu, I found 250 g was actually enough for 4 people!
I know that Pasta Marilungo export out of Italy, definitely to the US and UK. So, keep an eye out for it. You can also search for it online or send a message to the company via their Facebook page.
Rabbit ragu ingredients.
The rabbit I used in this tagliatelle with rabbit ragu recipe was deboned and cut into pieces. I can buy this ready prepared. If you can’t find boneless rabbit meat, you will need to debone your rabbit. In that case, I would suggest using the bones to make some stock. It will add a lot of flavour to the dish.
Apart from the rabbit and the pasta this rabbit ragu recipe includes some porcini mushrooms. I used frozen porcini but you can also use dried. Don’t forget, dried porcini need to be soaked in warm water for 20-30 minutes before cooking. You can use the water you soak them in if you need more liquid in your sauce.
The other main ingredients are carrots, garlic, rosemary, some stock and some white wine. The sauce needs to cook for about an hour, but it’s not difficult to make and is seriously tasty!!
If you do try this tagliatelle with rabbit ragu recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.
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Tagliatelle with Rabbit Ragu; Recipe from Le Marche
- 300-400 g tagliatelle (10-14oz)
- 500 g rabbit (170z) 400g without bones. Cut into small pieces.
- 2 carrots washed and finely chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves peeled and cut in halves
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 150 g dried porcini (5.5oz) or 200g (7oz) fresh or frozen porcini
- 1 glass white wine
- 2-3 ladles beef, chicken or rabbit stock I used homemade beef stock
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
- salt for pasta and to taste
- white pepper
First soak the dried porcini mushrooms (if using) in warm water for 20-30 mins, so that they soften again. Then wash and chop the carrots finely. Peel the garlic and cut in halves.
If your rabbit has bones, trim the meat with a nice sharp knife separating it from the bones. In the end you need about 400 g of rabbit meat. Cut these pieces into small chunks.
Take a fairly large casserole dish ( I used my Dutch oven), add the extra virgin olive oil and the peeled clove of garlic cut into halves. Also add the rosemary sprig (you can divide it into several parts).
Brown the garlic with the rosemary in the oil for at least a couple of minutes, then add the chopped carrot. Mix well. Cut the soaked porcini (or fresh or frozen) into small pieces. Then add them to the sauce. Continue to cook and stir for at least 5 minutes.
When the carrot starts to soften, add the rabbit meat. Add some ground white pepper. Stir
continuously so the meat browns well. Allow the rabbit meat to dry out a little and then once well browned, add a glass of white wine.
Season with salt and let all the wine evaporate well. Then add 2-3 ladles of stock and
reduce the heat and let it cook slowly covered, for at least an hour. Every so often, raise the lid and add more stock (always little) if necessary.
While the sauce is cooking, fill a pot with water for the pasta and bring to a boil. When it starts to boil add salt and bring to the boil again. Cook the tagliatelle al dente according to the instructions on the packet. When the pasta is ready, drain it and add to the rabbit ragu. Mix the sauce and pasta together well and serve with a sprinkling of grated cheese and pepper as required.
Other posts about and recipes from Le Marche
- Maccheroncini di Campofilone from Le Marche
- Maccheroncini di Campofilone pasta with Marchigiano ragu.
- Le Marche Region; the next Tuscany
- Piconi Ascolani: Baked Ravioli from Le Marche
- Spaghetti ‘Mare e Monti’ Recipe from Le Marche
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If you are interested in learning how to make homemade pasta and different types of gnocchi, check out my shop page for some great video online courses from my friends in Rome! Nothing beats learning to make pasta from Italians! Plus while you’re there why not order a copy of my autumn/winter pasta recipes cookbook!?