Rabbit is a better “chicken” than chicken. It has mild white meat but it has a bit more of a robust and meaty flavour than average grocery-store chicken. Maybe a better way to describe the flavour of rabbit could be that it tastes like a very-expensive, lovingly fed, fat, locally raised chicken.
Cooking the rabbit on the bone, into the ragu, and then removing the meat and adding it back to the pot makes this seemingly light ragu very rich and satisfying. The bread crumbs may seem a little odd, but they add a subtle toasted flavour and some texture, while also soaking up the sauce.
- 1 rabbit breast (or 4 rabbit hind legs), halved
- Salt, to taste
- 6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
- Black pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 3 Tbsp bread crumbs
- 200 grams bucatini
- Grated parmesan cheese, to serve
- Season rabbit with salt, and in a large dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat, until it shimmers. Working in batches, sear the rabbit until brown and then remove from the pan. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Place seared rabbit back in the pan and add the entire tin of tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 1 hour or until the rabbit is very tender.
- While the rabbit is cooking, make the toasted garlic bread crumbs by melting the butter and remaining olive oil in a pan over medium heat, then add finely grated garlic. When garlic is fragrant, add bread crumbs and continue to cook until the bread crumbs are toasted, then remove from heat.
- When the rabbit is tender, remove the rabbit and leave the sauce in the pan off of the heat. When it’s cool enough to handle, shred the rabbit meat off of the bones and then coarsely chop the meat. Place the meat back in the tomato sauce and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
- Cook the bucatini and drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Remove half of the ragu from the pan and reserve in a measuring cup and keep warm alongside. Add the pasta to the ragu remaining in the pan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, adding pasta water, as necessary, to loosen.
- Top the ragu with the remaining warm sauce, followed by toasted bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese.