This summer I was cooking for some American tourists staying on Lake Como and one asked me to cook rabbit, so I thought it may be a good addition to the blog. The, coniglio alla ligure, Ligurian rabbit, is an appetizing second course from region of Italy’s Riviera; in fact, for a long time this region was home to many rabbit farms.
Nowadays this delicious recipe is enjoyed throughout the entire country. It makes a perfect dinner for family and friends. I recommend roasted potatoes as side dish or if, you prefer something lighter, steamed potatoes . The delicacy of this dish is due to the mixture of the mild taste of rabbit flesh, the sweet and fruity flavor of the Ligurian olives and the gentle taste of pine nuts.
Rabbit meat is rich in protein but also low in cholesterol, so it is particularly suited for low-calorie and low-fat diets. I prefer stewing instead roasting rabbit; since it’s lean meat, you need to use extra fat to keep it from drying out when roasted. In this recipe I cook the dish until the liquid is reduced to a thick coating, not at all soupy. Did you know that the rabbit is native to Africa ? It was later imported to Europe, especially to Italy and France. The Italian name coniglio derives from the Latin word cuniculus, referring to the ability of this animal to dig warrens with many tunnels (cunicoli).
CONIGLIO ALLA LIGURE (LIGURIAN RABBIT)
Total preparation time : 1 ½ hrs Cooking time : 1 Servings: 4
1.6 kg (3 pounds and 9 oz) rabbit
5 tablespoons olive oil (Extra Virgin)
1 medium shallot , finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 sprig of rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
230 ml (1 cup) dry white wine
140 g (¾ cup) Taggiasche olives
40 g (⅓ cup) pine nuts
500 ml (about 2 cups) vegetable broth warm
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Cut the rabbit into pieces by removing the head and entrails; to save time ask the butcher to do it for you . Wash and dry with kitchen paper
2. In a large skillet, heat the oil and sauté shallots and garlic over medium-low heat. Add rabbit, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. Cook over medium-high heat until meat is golden
3. Deglaze with white wine and add olives, pine nuts and a ladle of broth. Cover with a lid and cook on medium-low heat for about an hour until flesh is tender (it will separate easily from the bone). Moisten occasionally with a ladle of broth. Serve warm !
Notes: When buying rabbit make sure that the meat is fresh, with a pale or intense pink color, depending on the variety. The color of the fat should be white and that of the liver uniform. Paola