Pappardelle with hare sauce

Pappardelle with hare sauce

Pappardelle sulla lepre

By
From
Acquacotta
Serves
6-8
Photographer
Emiko Davies; Lauren Bamford

Though not as common as it used to be in the Maremma, this dish is still a local favourite. Pellegrino Artusi includes two recipes for pappardelle with hare in his 1891 cookbook. He points out that hare can be a dry, flavourless meat, so it needs to be rescued with a rich, hearty sauce. Pancetta is an obligatory addition to the sauce as it adds that fattiness (and flavour) that is missing from this lean meat. You could prepare any game this way, including venison or wild rabbit. For a pasta sauce with wild boar.

As this dish is normally made with a whole hare, the recipe for the stew makes enough for about six to eight people, so keep this in mind when measuring out the pasta for the number of guests you would like to serve. However, leftover sauce is always a good thing, so if you’re only serving four, simply keep the leftovers for dinner the following night – you can serve as a stew over creamy polenta (see Vongole e Polenta for creamy polenta recipe). Leftover sauces are often tastier. In fact, you may want to make it a day ahead and reheat it slowly back to a simmer before tossing through pasta just for this reason. This sauce will also freeze well.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 hare, cleaned and jointed into large pieces, about 1.5-2 kg
90ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1/2 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, whole
170g pancetta, finely chopped
good pinch dried chilli flakes, (optional)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 rosemary sprig
4 sage leaves
2 bay leaves
750ml red wine
400g tomato passata or tinned peeled tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
fresh pappardelle pasta
finely grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, to serve

Method

  1. Put half of the olive oil in a large casserole pot over high heat. Brown a single layer of the meat in batches for about 5–7 minutes, turning to sear all sides. Set aside.
  2. In the same dish, add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic and pancetta with the rest of the olive oil and turn the heat down to low. Cook gently for about 15 minutes, or until the chopped vegetables are softened but not coloured and the pancetta’s fat has rendered and become transparent.
  3. Season with a good pinch of salt, add the chilli, tomato paste and herbs, and continue cooking for 5 minutes, then return the meat to the pan. Add the wine, along with enough water to cover – roughly 1 litre. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and let the sauce cook, uncovered, for 1 hour or until the meat is tender but not falling apart too much. Also, do not stir too often, as you’ll risk ‘shredding’ the meat too much.
  4. Remove from the heat and carefully transfer the chunks of meat to a plate and let them cool. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard the bones from the meat, leaving it in good-sized chunks if possible, and return the meat to the sauce.
  5. Add the tomato, along with 500 ml of water. Continue to simmer until the sauce is thick and reduced but not too much – you want to easily coat the pasta in this sauce. Finally, add the nutmeg, taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If you find you have simmered too long and it’s too thick, you can always loosen it with some of the pasta cooking water just before tossing the pasta in the sauce. You will only need about half of this amount to serve four people, so the rest can be frozen or kept in the fridge for the next day.
  6. When you are ready to eat, put the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling, well-salted water. Cook until al dente, about 3–5 minutes. Drain the pasta (reserving some of the cooking water to loosen the sauce, if necessary) and add it to the sauce. Serve with freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese.

Note

  • You can source hare from game meat suppliers, speciality butchers and even online. Wild rabbit can also be used here (not farmed rabbit, which is more like chicken).
Tags:
Italian
Tuscany
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