Rabbit Bolognese

Serves 4:

Time requirement: about 1½ hour, plus the time to grind the rabbit meat. That is if you buy a whole rabbit to bone and grind your own meat. That is pretty much the only way I know to get ground rabbit.

What you will need:

1 pound of ground rabbit meat. *

A 2-ounce slab of pancetta cut into long thin strips.

½ cup of extra-virgin olive oil.

2 ounces fine diced carrots.

2 ounces fine diced celery.

3 ounces finely chopped onion.

½ cup dry white wine.

1 cup milk.

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg.

1 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper.

1 can of no salt added imported Italian tomato sauce (28-29-ounce net weight).

Kosher salt to taste.

1 pound of tagliatelle.

Grated parmesan to pass at the table.

*I have never seen ground rabbit at my market. I buy a 2 to 2¼ pound whole rabbit, bone it, and grind the meat myself. If you do grind your own rabbit meat, save the bones.

Preparation:

Heat a 4-6-quart Dutch oven type pan over a medium heat for 1 minute. Then add the olive oil and pancetta. Sauté the pancetta in olive oil until it is brown and crisp. Then lower the heat and add the carrot, celery, and onion and cook for 5 more minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the white wine and turn the heat to high. Allow the wine to boil away.

When the wine has evaporated, lower the heat to low, and add the ground rabbit. Cover the pan and cook the rabbit for 8-10 minutes. Stir the meat occasionally while it cooks. After 8-10 minutes uncover the pan, raise the heat to high, and add the milk and the nutmeg. When the milk reaches a boil, lower the heat to medium. Cook until all the milk has evaporated. Watch the pan and stir it occasionally. You do not want to burn the contents of the pan. When the milk has evaporated there will just be a golden liquid at the bottom of the pan which is a mix of the olive oil, fat from the pancetta, and milk fat.

When the milk has evaporated, add the tomato sauce and black pepper. Cook for 35-45 minutes, covered, over a low heat. When the sauce is thick, it is done. Half way through taste and adjust for salt. The pancetta may have added all the salt that is needed; maybe not.

Serve over fresh tagliatelle.

A godless savage might add seasoning beyond nutmeg. I would not.

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