Friday, May 6, 2011

Fast and Slow- Rabbit Ragù and Wild Asparagus


Sometimes life goes so fast, a whole season can go by and looking back it's a complete blur. At times I'm thankful for that, if it's been a difficult period, at least in retrospect it's over quickly. But other times, things are so good I just want to savor them and I feel I'm wrestling with the hands of the clock to stop them from turning so quickly.

In the kitchen, I feel there have been months on end where I've rushed through meal preparation. There are times I barely chew my food and eat standing up in the kitchen. None of these behaviors are fitting of a person who loves to cook and eat. I'm working on changing, slowing down. I sing when I cook to make sure that love goes into the meals I make.


Yesterday I made a slow cook sauce for pasta or polenta with rabbit, white wine, rosemary and plenty of finely chopped onion, celery, garlic and carrot. Our apartment building smelled so good. I love it when such delicious scents emanate from my kitchen.

At the market, the "wild" (farmed) asparagus looked right at me and smiled, so I of course brought some home. With a main course that takes almost 3 hours to prepare, I was looking for a side dish that could be made in about 3 minutes, and these thin asparagus, sautéed quickly in olive oil, salt and pepper were the answer.


The recipe for the rabbit ragù is very similar to the Wild Boar Ragù I made several months ago. I served the sauce over egg pappardelle, the traditional pasta for ragù of this type. And although the name derives from the verb pappare, (to gobble up) I did my very best to slow down and enjoy every rich bite.


The sauce is even better the next day, so make ahead if you can, or hope that there are leftovers to enjoy. There were a handful of asparagus left that I ate cold with a squeeze of lemon juice and some marinated sardines on top. Now that's something to savor.

Rabbit Ragù

1 whole rabbit, cut into pieces
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
1 stalk celery
leaves from 1 branch of rosemary
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 bottle white wine
salt and pepper

If you're lucky enough to have a butcher, have him (or her) cut the rabbit into pieces.
In a food processor, finely chop the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and rosemary.
Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat and add the vegetables. Add some salt and cook for about five minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir well. Place the rabbit pieces in the pan. (Optional: brown the pieces before you start the vegetables; I did not.) Add the wine and enough water to cover the rabbit pieces. Set the kitchen timer for 2 hours. Simmer uncovered for the first hour, stirring and turning the rabbit pieces occasionally. After the first hour, cover the pan and check periodically. Use a wooden spoon to start to break up the pieces and separate the meat from the bone. After two hours, remove the rabbit and allow it to cool. Then shred the meat and put it back into the pan with all of the vegetables. When ready to serve, cook your pasta and serve the ragù with a sprinkling of pecorino romano cheese, if you have it.


  1. Nicole, you inspire me so much. I might have to go buy a rabbit this weekend to make this recipe. AND the leftover wild asparagus with a squeeze of lemon and marinated are a clever woman, indeed!

  2. These pictures and this recipe are things of beauty! Love that the sauce tastes better the next day!


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