Ragu is a rich meat sauce for pasta, usually cooked long and slow. In this case, the sauce itself is pretty quick to put together, but the rabbit requires a good, long simmer to make it super-tender. Serves two.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 rabbit, jointed
4 rashers streaky bacon, diced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stems celery, roughly chopped
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
A few black peppercorns
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1kg tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped (or a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes)
Salt and ground black pepper
½ glass white wine
1 knob butter
250g pappardelle or tagliatelle
Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add the rabbit pieces and brown all over. Add the bacon, carrot, celery and onion, and let them take a little colour. Add a bay leaf, the peppercorns and enough water just to cover everything. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for an hour and a half to two hours, or until the rabbit meat is falling off the bone.
Meanwhile, make a simple tomato sauce. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, without browning, then add the tomatoes and a bay leaf. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes are very soft and pulpy, and the mixture is thick. Remove the bay. If you like, blitz the sauce in a blender to get a smooth consistency, but it’s not essential. Taste, season and set aside.
Take the meat out of the stock. Strain the stock, discard the veg, then pour into a wide pan. Add the wine, bring to the boil and boil until the liquid has reduced to about 200ml.
Pull all the rabbit meat off the bones, in shreds. Combine the sauce with the reduced stock and add the meat. Grind in lots of pepper and add a knob of butter. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water until al dente, then drain. Transfer to two warmed dishes and spoon the ragù on top. Trickle over a little extra-virgin olive oil, add a good grinding of black pepper and serve.