For these ravioli I wanted the delicate flavor of the (farmed) rabbit to shine. To accomplish that, I did not use any other prominent ingredients, and squeezed all of the flavor out of the rabbit by making a stock from the bones, which I then reduced and included in the filling. It was a success, because the ravioli turned out delicious and the rabbit flavor could clearly be tasted.
The rabbit can be cooked either conventionally on the stovetop or sous vide. I did it sous vide, because there is no risk of the rabbit meat drying out. Another reason to use sous vide this time around was that the expiry date of the rabbit legs was before when I needed them. By cooking them sous vide, I could extend their expiry for another week.
I served these ravioli for both 25th and 26th December. The first time small size ravioli with butter and sage, the second time regular size ravioli with rabbit jus. With jus it was even better, but that will require additional rabbit bones (a carcass would be ideal), as the bones from the legs are used for the filling. Luckily I had some leftover rabbit jus in the freezer that I used.
For 8 servings as primo piatto
- 2 rabbit legs, about 600 grams (1.3 lbs) in total
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 stick celery, sliced
- 1 small onion (or 1/2 medium onion), chopped
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh oregano or marjoram (optional)
- 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 20 grams (one handful) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- fresh pasta dough made with 4 eggs and about 400 grams (2 2/3 cups) Italian 00 flour
- 200 grams (14 Tbsp) butter and 24 fresh sage leaves, or 250 ml (1 cup) rabbit jus
Season the rabbit legs with salt and vacuum seal them. If possible, allow the salt to penetrate into the rabbit meat overnight in the refrigerator. Cook the rabbit legs sous vide for 8 hours at 75C/167F.
After sous vide cooking, pour the juices from the bag into a container and reserve.
Pat the rabbit legs dry with kitchen paper.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and sear the meat on both sides until nicely golden brown. It is easiest to use a pan for this that can also go into the oven later.
Allow the meat to cool until you can handle it. Then take the meat off the bones. Reserve the meat.
Place the bones in the pan that you used to brown the rabbit together with carrot, onion, and celery. (On the photo you can see that I also added the herbs at this time, but it is actually nicer to add them later.)
If you want to make additional rabbit jus to dress the ravioli, double the amount of vegetables, and add additional rabbit bones (part of the carcass with the head would be great).
Roast the bones and vegetables in the oven at 190C/375F until everything is nicely browned, but not burnt. This roasting step deepens the flavor of the jus. (If you cook the rabbit on the stovetop in the conventional way with the vegetables, a similar flavor will be achieved.)
Deglaze the pan with 120 ml of dry white wine.
Use a wooden spatula to loosen any browned bits stuck to the pan.
Now transfer the contents of the pan to a smaller (especially more narrow) pot.
Add the reserved rabbit sous vide juices.
Cover with cold water. Add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaf (and oregano, if using).
Bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer for about 2 hours.
Pass the rabbit stock through a sieve.
Bring the rabbit stock to a boil…
…and reduce to about 120 ml (1/2 cup) of concentrated rabbit jus. (If making extra to dress the ravioli, reduce to 360 ml (1 1/2 cup) and use 240 ml for dressing the ravioli and 120 ml for the filling.)
Allow the rabbit jus to cool somewhat. Place the reserved rabbit meat in a food processor together with 1 egg, 20 grams freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, and 120 ml rabbit jus.
Use the pulse button to chop and mix. It should not become too smooth, but retain some texture. Taste and add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, remembering that ravioli filling tasted by itself should be slightly more salty. In the ravioli it will then turn out exactly right.
Allow the filling to firm up in the refrigerator for at least an hour, covered in the refrigerated. This makes it easier to stuff the ravioli.
Make pasta dough according to my instructions for fresh pasta dough, roll it out as thinly as possible, and make ravioli according to my instructions for making ravioli. You can make small ravioli with balls of filling about the size of a hazelnut…
…or regular ravioli with balls of filling about the size of a large walnut. For the small ravioli you can split a pasta sheet with a width of 15 cm (6 inches) into two sheets of 7.5 cm (3 inches).
Small ravioli have relatively more pasta in relation to the amount of filling compared to larger ravioli.
For butter and sage to dress the ravioli, allow the butter to melt and then add minced fresh sage, which you fry gently in the butter for a minute or so. It is nice to allow the butter to turn a bit golden brown, but it should not burn.
As alternative you can reheat rabbit jus in a pan.
Boil the ravioli for 2 minutes in ample salted boiling water.
Lift the ravioli out of the pot with a strainer and add them to the butter with sage, or the rabbit jus.
Toss the ravioli gently to cover with the butter or jus.
Serve the ravioli on preheated plates with some freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.
This is nice with a light red wine such as a Barbera or Pinot Noir, but also with a structured white such as a Verdicchio Riserva.