This traditional recipe from the Marche region in Central Italy is one of the best ways to cook rabbit meat. It's easy to make and full of flavour. A truly authentic Italian pasta recipe!
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.
The rabbit I used in this tagliatelle with rabbit ragu recipe was de-boned and cut into pieces. I can buy this ready prepared. If you can’t find boneless rabbit meat, you will need to de-bone 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.
If using dried porcini, they 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.