The word Ragout, or Ragù in Italian, usually identify a pasta sauce basically made with soffritto (a stir-fry of chopped onion, carrot and celery) , tomatoes and ground meat.
The classic ragout is made with mixed ground meat of pork and beef, soffritto, tomatoes, red wine, salt and pepper. But there are many other variations, like the Ragù alla Bolognese (with the add of chopped ham and Mortadella), Ragù Napoletano (which is made with veal ground meat and the add of differend kind of meats like pork ribs, pancetta or stuffed meat rolls to strenghten the flavor), Ragù Toscano (with the add of sausage and juniper berries), Ragù Bianco (which is made without the tomato, hence the name White Ragout) and many more..
For each and every ragù mentioned there are countless variations which are passed down from generation to generation of families so it’s difficult to identify the “original recipe”.
The only thing all these Ragout have in common is that they take a really long time to make since they have to simmer for at least 2 hours + all the prep time. I usually make the Ragù Toscano (Tuscan Ragout) in large quantities and then I freeze single portions ready to use.
There is also the use of different animals to make Ragout. For example, in the mountainous regions of italy you may easily find it with deer or roe, while in Tuscany is really common made with wild boar (my favorite). But there are also ragouts of pheasant, duck, rabbit, hare and game meat.
In this recipe I used rabbit instead of ground meat; rabbit has a sweeter flavor and to better taste it the meat is chunked instead of grounded (this happens also with a lot of the other animal variety of ragouts mentioned above).
The cooking time is a little bit less than classic Ragout: 1 hour is enough to bring up all the flavor, so in this case instead of making a big batch I made only 2 portions. But you can use a whole rabbit and the portions will be about 6 (don’t forget to triplicate the other ingredients as well).
Tagliatelle with Rabbit Ragout
- 180 g 4 oz. dried Tagliatelle pasta
- 2 Rabbit thighs
- 50 g 1/3 cup red Onion
- 35 g 1/3 cup Celery
- 50 g 1/3 cup Carrot
- 1/2 glass Red Wine
- 1 clove Garlic
- 1 can diced Tomatoes
- 2 Rosemary sprigs
- Juniper berries
- Chicken stock
- EVO Oil
- To make the soffritto finely chop the onion, celery and carrots and stir fry them in olive oil until they start to brown.
- Add the rabbit thighs, the rosemary sprigs, the juniper berries and the halved garlic clove together with the soffritto and let them cook at medium heat.
- Pour the wine and let the alcohol evaporate, then cover the pan with the lid and cook untl the rabbit is done, turning it over every once in a while.
- When the rabbit is completely cooked through, turn off the heat and remove it from the pan; let it cool for a few minutes then remove the meat from the bones with you hands and chop it finely with the knife.
- Remove the rosemary sprigs and the garlic from the pan and add the chopped meat; turn on the heat and add the chopped tomatoes. At this point season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Cook the tagliatelle in boiling salted water and add the to the rabbit ragout.