Wild game dishes are very popular in Italy. In this recipe wild rabbit is marinated overnight in lemon juice and water to take away some of the "gamey" taste. If you like a stronger flavor or are using domestic rabbit, eliminate the marinating.
3 pounds wild or domestic rabbit, cut up
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2/3 cup diced pancetta or prosciutto
1 medium white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and crushed plum tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Place the rabbit in a noncorrosive dish, pour in the lemon juice, and add enough cold water to come to the top of the dish. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Drain rabbit and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a heavy ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil, add the pancetta or prosciutto, and the rabbit pieces, and brown quickly on all sides. Remove rabbit and pancetta to a dish.
Add the onion to the skillet and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and also sauté until soft. Add the vinegar, tomatoes, and wine, mix well, then simmer the mixture for 5 minutes.
Add the sage, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Return the rabbit and pancetta to the pan, cover pan with foil, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the rabbit is easily pierced with a fork. Serve with the sauce poured over the rabbit.
Note: Serve this dish with polenta and pour some of the sauce over the slices.
This recipe is from NELLA CUCINA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1993.
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