Homemade Pappardelle with ‘Nduja and Braised Rabbit

Last week I was on vacation with plenty of time on my hands and in the mood to make a serious meal on a Thursday evening. Something that would take a bit more time and effort than usual. I had a few ideas in mind – 1) make homemade pasta, 2) top it with something braised and 3) make use of ‘nduja (the spicy Calabrese sausage introduced to me a while back by a chef friend of mine). Thus was born this homemade pappardelle with ‘nduja and braised rabbit.

Ingredients

  • 2 rabbit legs
  • 1 large stalk of celery, chopped
  • 2 medium sized carrots
  • one medium sized onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 150g of ‘nduja
  • pappardelle for 2
  • 4 tbsps of fresh green peas
  • parsley for garnish

The Method

Pasta

If you’re in the mood to make your own pasta, this is a great recipe to follow. You can’t get simpler than two ingredients (flour and eggs), and the author has laid out the steps in an easy to follow fashion, with a video to boot.

Braised Rabbit (for 2 legs)

  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Season rabbit legs with salt and pepper and brown them on all sides in a cast iron pan over medium high heat, about 6 minutes total.
  3. Remove rabbit legs and set aside. Turn heat to medium, add celery, carrots and onions, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and thyme, and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
  5. Add the white wine and return the heat to high. Reduce the wine by half, this will only take a few minutes.
  6. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, then return the rabbit legs to the pan.
    Tip: The rabbit legs don’t need to be completely covered but they should be almost fully submerged. If there is not enough liquid just add some water.
  7. Cover the pan (tinfoil will do if you don’t have an oven safe lid) and put it in the oven.
  8. Let the rabbit legs braise for 2 hours, flipping them after one hour. After 2 hours the meat will be falling off of the bone.
  9. Remove the rabbit meat from the bones using a fork (you shouldn’t need a knife) and set it aside on a plate.

Putting it Together

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat and add the ‘nduja, breaking it up with the spatula.
    Tip: this is a highly variable step. Depending on how spicy you like your food you can use more or less of the ‘nduja.
  2. Once the ‘nduja has warmed and started to melt, remove about 1/3 of it from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the shredded rabbit meat to the pan and toss it with the ‘nduja just long enough to warm it.
  4. Add your cooked pappardelle, some braising liquid, a bit of olive oil and the fresh peas to the pan and toss the entire mixture for about a minute to coat the pasta.
    Tip: There is no science here. How much braising liquid and olive oil you add depends on how much sauce you generally like to eat your pasta with. I like mine on the dry side, so I added only a few tablespoons of braising liquid and a splash of olive oil. 
  5. Plate the pappardelle in a nest with braised rabbit on top. If you like your food spicy you can throw a bit of extra ‘nduja on top as well, as I did. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

Suggested wine pairing: You could go red or white with this dish. I was in the mood for a red and happened to have a great match on hand. A bottle of Arianna Occhipinti SP68 (Nero d’Avola and Frappato) made for a perfect pairing – light and fruity but at the same time with enough body to stand up to the spicy ‘nduja.

The Result

This was my kind of pasta dish – spicy, full of bold flavours and just dry enough (i.e. not swimming in sauce). The rabbit meat was as tender and flavourful as you’d expect it to be after 2 hours of braising and my first attempt at homemade pasta was a success as the pappardelle had a great firm texture to it. Honestly, you could omit the ‘nduja and  still have a really tasty braised rabbit pasta dish, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The ‘nduja took things up a proverbial notch by adding a great spiciness and depth of flavour to the whole dish. Last but not least, the fresh green peas joined the party to lighten things up just a bit.

But more important than any of that, the girlfriend anointed this dish as my best creation to date; so I think it’s safe to say that it was a hit.

Homemade Pappardelle with ‘Nduja and Braised Rabbit

More pics:

This entry was posted in Eats at Home and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Homemade Pappardelle with ‘Nduja and Braised Rabbit

  1. MyMansBelly says:

    This looks and sounds divine! I’m a huge fan of rabbit and whenever I can get my hands on it I do. I’ve been thinking about making something like this for a while, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I love the addition of the spicy sausage. Great idea!

    • CCUinMTL says:

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. I know exactly what you mean about not getting around to things. This is one that I had been conjuring up in my mind for a while now. Luckily it didn’t disappoint!

      p.s. your site looks great. You’ve got a new reader.

  2. Theresa says:

    Hi! Just wondering where I can purchase some nduja in Montreal?

  3. this sounds gorgeous, im going to follow this method

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>