More supermarkets are carrying fresh rabbit, as people rediscover its delicate flavor. Braising helps to keep it moist and tender. If you have trouble finding rabbit, however, you can substitute bone-in chicken, skin removed.
Active time: 40 min Start to finish: 1 3/4 hr
Makes 4 servings.
- 1(2 1/2- to 3 1/2-lb) rabbit, cut into 8 serving pieces
- 1teaspoon salt
- 1/2teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2medium onions, halved lengthwise and then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
- 2garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2(4- by 1-inch) strips fresh orange zest
- 1(3- to 4-inch) cinnamon stick
- 2turkish bay leaves or 1 california
- 1/2cup dry red wine
- 2cups canned crushed tomatoes (from a 28-oz can)
- 1/2cup water
- 8oz dried egg tagliatelle or egg fettuccine
- 1tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsleyspecial equipment:a deep 12-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably with a lid) or a 5-qt wide heavy pot
DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 350°F.
Pat rabbit pieces dry and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown rabbit in 2 batches, turning over once, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer as browned to a plate.
Reduce heat to moderate and cook onions, garlic, zest, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves in remaining 2 tablespoons oil, stirring frequently, until onions are beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add wine and deglaze skillet by boiling, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, until wine is reduced by about half, about2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, water, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Nestle rabbit pieces in sauce and bring to a simmer.
Cover skillet tightly with lid or heavy-duty foil, then braise in middle of oven 30 minutes. Turn rabbit over and continue to braise, covered, until rabbit is tender, 25 to 30 minutes more.
While rabbit is braising, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain pasta well in a colander and transfer to a large platter. Discard zest, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf from sauce. Arrange rabbit over pasta, then spoon sauce over top and sprinkle with parsley.
• Rabbit can be braised 1 day ahead and cooled, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat on top of stove until hot.