Creamy rabbit spezzatino with fontina bucatini

  • Preparation Time120 mins
  • Cooking Time70 mins
  • Serves8
  • DifficultyHard

For the rabbit and stock

1 (1.1 to 1.3kg) rabbit, boned (reserve bones for stock and meat for spezzatino)
60g butter
1 shallot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 sprig fresh sage
1 sprig fresh rosemary
120ml dry white wine
950ml water

For the spezzatino

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
115g butter
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 large shallot, sliced
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig sage
120ml dry white wine
240ml heavy cream
For serving:
Funghi di bosco, recipe follows
Fontina stuffed bucatini, recipe follows
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

For the fontina stuffed bucatini

For the dough

450g plain flour, plus more for kneading
4 large eggs, plus 3 large yolks
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

For the fontina stuffing

450g fontina, grated
1 egg white, beaten
For finishing:
30g butter
24 fresh sage leaves
50g freshly grated Parmesan

For the funghi de bosco

565g mixed fresh wild mushrooms, sliced (remove tough stems from shiitakes)
60g butter
1 or 2 sprigs sage
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
15g chopped fresh parsley
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
For the spezzatino:
1) To make the rabbit stock: Chop up the reserved rabbit bones. Put the bones and butter in an ovenproof saucepan and roast until browned. Transfer the pan to the stovetop and set over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, sage, and rosemary and when they begin to turn golden, add the wine and cook until it evaporates. Add the water and simmer until reduced to one-third of its initial volume.

2) Cut the reserved rabbit meat into 2cm cubes and season with salt and pepper. Heat the butter in a roasting tin set over medium heat. Add the rabbit, and let it colour on all sides. Add the garlic, shallot, rosemary, and sage, and cook just to develop a little colour. Add the wine, let it evaporate, and then add all the rabbit stock. Roast, uncovered, until the meat is tender, 20 to 30 mins (add water to the pan if the juices begin to burn). Transfer the meat to a plate with a slotted spoon and remove and discard the herb sprigs. Add the cream to the pan gravy and reduce over medium heat until it has thickened but is still a little runny.

3) For serving: Spoon some of the rabbit in the middle of a plate. Top with Funghi di Bosco. Try and turn the bucatini around the rabbit to make a nest (it won't completely stay in place), sprinkle chopped parsley on top, and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

For the fontina stuffed bucatini:
1) For the dough: Put the flour in a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre, and break the eggs and yolks in the middle. Add the olive oil to the well and beat with a fork to incorporate the olive oil with the eggs. Slowly begin to assimilate flour until you have a thick paste and can begin working with your fingers and assimilate the rest. Put the dough on a lightly floured countertop and knead for a few minutes until the dough is elastic. Cover with clingfilm and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 mins.

2) For the fontina stuffing: Melt the fontina in a microwave oven on high heat, cooking for 1 min intervals, until the cheese is runny. Pour into a pastry bag and immediately roll out the bucatini dough. If the cheese hardens in the meantime, you can reheat it in the microwave for a few seconds, but only if the bag has a plastic (not metal) tip.

3) Roll out the bucatini dough using a pasta machine, always dusting the pasta sheet with flour to prevent sticking, until the sheet is 1mm thick (or slightly thinner, if you can).

4) Cut the pasta sheet crosswise into strips 6 to 8cm wide (and about 10cm long). Brush the strips with egg white and squeeze out a rope of fontina stuffing down the length of the strip, stopping 1/2cm from each end. Roll the pasta strip over the stuffing until you have a tightly stuffed cylinder. The pasta should roll over itself twice. Pinch the ends closed and then cut off the pinched part to seal the bucatini. Make at least 24 bucatini.

5) To finish: Bring a large pot filled with salted water to a boil. Drop the pasta in the water and cook until the bucatini is al dente (try one to check), 2 to 4 mins. Put the butter and sage in a saute pan set over medium heat and let the butter solids turn brown. Add the bucatini to the pan along with a little pasta cooking water (this stops the butter from browning) and keep moving the pasta gently in the pan until the water evaporates. Add the cheese. Serve with the sage leaves, if you like.

For the funghi de bosco:
1) Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.

2) Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish. Melt the butter with the sage and garlic in a small pan set over medium heat. When the butter solids have turned a nutty blonde, pour the butter (discard the garlic and sage) over the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and roast, turning occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender but still slightly al dente, 15 to 20 mins. Transfer them to a bowl, toss with the parsley, drizzle with olive oil, and keep warm.

This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

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