Pappardelle al ragù di coniglio

Pappardelle al ragù di coniglio

Rabbit meat is not yet a household name all over the world, but in Italy it is quite common to eat rabbit, especially in the winter. Like other types of game, rabbit meat is also sold at supermarkets, often frozen. Rabbit meat is white, lean, tender, tasty and a good source of high quality protein. Leaner than beef, pork, or chicken, it can be used in most ways chicken meat is used. The best rabbits for eating are between three months and a year old. Herbs like rosemary, sage, bay leaf, thyme, fennel, and basil are the best accompaniments for the meat. You can prepare the meat in many ways – cacciatora style, in the oven, with different vegetables, braised, and fried. Here, the rabbit simmers in a fresh tomato sauce and is served with pappardelle pasta. White wine and rosemary give it the final touch.

Ingredients:

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

2 carrots, sliced

1 stick of celery, sliced

2-4 dry chilies, deseeded and finely chopped

fresh rosemary

3-4 rabbit legs, cut into pieces

1.5 dl/ 2/3 cup dry white wine

2 cans peeled tomatoes

salt and pepper to taste

Pappardelle, fresh or dry

freshly grated parmigiano

Pappardelle al ragù di coniglio

Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and garlic and saute them until the onion becomes golden. Add the sliced carrots and celery, and continue frying for a few minutes. Add the dry chilies and the fresh rosemary together with the rabbit pieces. Add also the white wine, and once the wine has evaporated, remove the pan from the heat.

Take the rabbit pieces from the pan and remove the bones. After that, return the pan back to the heat with the boneless rabbit pieces. Add the peeled tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, and let the sauce simmer on a low heat for about 30 minutes. Add water, if needed.

Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle al dente in a pot filled with salted boiling water. Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce. Serve immediately with freshly grated parmigiano.

Advertisements

Christmas Dinner: Ravioli all’anatra, Crema di porcini al Marsala

Ravioli all'anatra

Some historians claim that ravioli was invented at the beginning of the 19th century as a way to use up leftovers. Others disagree and say this particular type of filled pasta already existed in the 14th century. After all Boccaccio mentions ravioli in Il Decameron. In any case, in our modern times ravioli and other types of filled pasta are available as an everyday meal, but the variations and fillings range from traditional to novelty creations. The only limitation is the chef’s imagination. This ground pork and duck filling has a strong flavor and goes well together with a creamy sauce with porcini mushrooms. Below there are detailed tips how you can avoid all the pitfalls and become a true masterful pasta maker.

Ravioli all’anatra: Ravioli all'anatra

Ingredients:

125 gr ground pork

2 garlic cloves, minced

190 gr boiled duck breast, chopped

1 cup Swiss chard or spinach

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

fresh oregano, choppedRavioli all’anatra, Crema di porcini al marsala

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/3 cup ricotta cheese

1 egg yolk

1/3 tsp salt

Instructions:

Saute the ground pork together with the garlic cloves for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and drain any fat. Add the finely chopped duck breast, Swiss chard or spinach, fresh basil, fresh oregano and fresh parsley. Mix in a food processor until smooth. Add the ricotta cheese and egg yolk and season with salt.

Prepare the dough for the ravioli by following the instructions in Useful tips. Boil the ravioli for 4-6 minutes depending on the size and the amount of filling you use. Serve with Parmesan cheese and Crema di porcini al marsala.

Crema di porcini al Marsala:Ravioli all’anatra, Crema di porcini al marsala

Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves, minced

1.5 cups porcini mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

1/3 cup MarsalaRavioli all’anatra, Crema di porcini al marsala

1/3 cup cream

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Sauté the garlic cloves and the porcini mushrooms in a mix of olive oil and butter. After 5 minutes, add the Marsala and cook until half the Marsala has evaporated. Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer on a low heat. Add the cream and stir for a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper.

Useful tips:

* Prepare the ravioli on a lightly dusted surface with lightly dusted fingers. This way you can press the rims of the ravioli firmly together and the ravioli won’t stick to your fingers or the working surface.

* Lay out flour (50g per person) on an even surface. Create a round circle that looks like a well and break 1 egg yolk per person and set it in the middle. Keep the egg whites in a separate bowl. Stir the yolk(s) with a fork and gradually take more and more flour. After a while, start kneading with your hands and continue for 5 minutes.

* The consistency of the dough is important. When you shape the ravioli you don’t want the pasta dough to break.

* The more wheat you use, the dryer the dough gets. Harder and dryer dough gives you nice, chewy ravioli with a distinct wheat flavor. Softer dough is creamier and much easier to work with and it tastes great, too. If you are new to ravioli making, go for an elastic and creamy dough, which is fairly easy to knead and pass through the pasta machine. It won’t be sticky, but it’s good to have a little bit of flour ready for dusting before you roll it through the pasta machine.

* While kneading you can still make adjustments and dip the dough once or twice into the cup with the egg whites, if it is too hard. Add flour if it is too sticky.

* After kneading, wrap the dough in a damp tea towel and let it rest in the fridge for 1 hour. Then roll out the dough, dust a little with flour and pass through the pasta machine using the highest setting, then the second highest. Fold the dough double and pass it through the machine again using the same two positions. When you have repeated this 5 times altogether you should have a good, regular and even pasta sheet. Pass through the machine, going through all the positions down to the thinnest setting.

* If you are making large ravioli, cut the sheet in two long pieces of equal width. Cut the sheet in three when making smaller ravioli.

* Cut the sheets into squares and set half the squares aside. With the help of a teaspoon, put a little bit of the filling right in the middle of the square. Dip your finger into the cup with the egg whites and tap the rims of the filled squares.

* Make the ravioli by taking a square without a filling and setting it on top of a filled ravioli square, firmly pushing on the rims to seal the ravioli. Cook the ravioli for ca. 4-6 minutes depending on the filling and the size. When they have boiled, you might also choose to turn them for a few seconds in a pan with warm (not hot) melted butter before serving with a sauce of your choice.

* It’s best to keep the spoon you use for filling in a cup filled with cold water. This prevents the filling from sticking. It makes it easy to take just the right amount of filling for each ravioli, too.

* When sealing the ravioli, make sure that there are no air bubbles.

Ravioli all'anatra

Christmas Dinner: Coniglio alla Cacciatora

IMG_0460

Yesterday I had a wonderful Christmas dinner with two very dear friends with whom I prepared a four-course menu showcasing the very best of Italian cooking. Coniglio alla Cacciatora (the rabbit of the hunter’s wife) was served as the main course. This delicious stew comes in many shapes and forms, and you will find versions with red wine, olives and vegetables. I personally prefer white wine over red and use some chili for a welcome kick. This dish can also be prepared with chicken, which is a good option if rabbit is not readily available.

Ingredients: 

olive oil

2 rabbit legs, cut into 1 inch/2.54 cm pieces

1 onion, sliced

4-5 garlic cloves, minced

3 dry chili peppers

200 gr seasonal mushrooms

salt and pepper

1 tin (à 400 gr) peeled tomatoes

1.5 dl dry white wine

3-4 bay leaves

fresh parsley, chopped

Coniglio alla Cacciatora

Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Fry the rabbit pieces over medium heat until they brown and set aside.

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes. Add the chili flakes. When the onion is tender, add the sliced seasonal mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Add the peeled tomatoes and the dry white wine together with the bay leaves. Bring the rabbit pieces and their juices back to the frying pan and let the mixture simmer on a low heat for 45 minutes. If necessary, concentrate the sauce by increasing the heat. Sprinkle some fresh parsley over the rabbit pieces and serve with potatoes or polenta.

Coniglio alla Cacciatora

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Marinated rabbit with potatoes

The first movie of The Hobbit trilogy is opening worldwide before Christmas, and this seems just about the right time to have Hobbit-themed food. After all, those knee-high creatures had a thing for eating and had come up with such novel meals as 2nd breakfast or elevenses. In the book hobbits are described as unadventurous, who above all love good simple food and pipe-weed. Several references are made to food, and their diet seemed to have consisted of potatoes, meat, cakes, different types of ales and mushrooms. So what are you waiting for – start baking your own lembas bread!

Scrambled eggs with pancettaBreakfast:

Scrambled eggs with pancetta

2nd breakfast:2nd breakfast

Pork sausages with a mushroom mix (portobello, shiitake and oyster mushrooms) with tomato slices and cherry tomatoes

Portobello with pancettaElevenses:

Portobello mushrooms wrapped in thinly sliced pancetta and baked in the oven for about 20 minutes

 

Marinated rabbit with potatoes:

Ingredients:

3-4 dl red wineMarinade for the rabbit

4 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion

2-3 carrots, in chunks

2 sticks of celery, in chunks

4 bay leaves

fresh thyme

fresh mint

salt and pepper

2 rabbit legs

Instructions:

Slice the vegetables. Pour the red wine and the vinegar into a pot and add the vegetables, the fresh herbs and the rabbit legs. Let the mixture marinade in room temperature for 6 hours.

After marinading, cook the rabbit legs in the marinade, covered, on a medium heat for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook further for 30 minutes until the wine has evaporated. Set the rabbit legs aside, and discard the marinade. Fry the rabbit legs on a high heat for about 10 minutes until the rabbit legs brown. Serve with potatoes and cooked carrots and celery.