Godiamo, la tazza, la tazza e il cantico,la notte abbella e il riso;in questo paradiso ne scopra il nuovo dì
— excerpt from ‘Libiamo ne’ Lieti Calici’, “La Traviata” by Giuseppe Verdi
Be happy; The wine and singing
beautify both the night and the laughter
Let the new day find us in this paradise
I feel very fortunate that there is a fabulous farmer’s market in town that has some of the best local foods available, all from within a 30-mile radius. As the school year has been winding down, it is even a greater pleasure to be able to enjoy a sun-filled afternoon at the outdoor market with good friends, good wine, and good food. I love stumbling upon unique finds and meeting local farmers who are truly engaged in their products and customers.
Coniglio alla Ligure is a warm burst of deep, rich flavor. The wine really gives it a dark and lush finish after a nice simmer — the meat and vegetables become well-infused with the reduced sauce and herbs. The almost-sweetness of the stewed carrots and celery and the fragrance of pignolia are perfectly counter-balanced by the mild bitterness of olive taggiasche. Simply delicious!
Coniglio alla Ligure Recipe
Preparation Time: 2 hours
- One whole rabbit (about 3 pounds), cut into 12 portions, liver and kidney reserved
- 4-5 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 carrot, quartered
- 1 stalk celery, quartered
- 3 sprigs each of rosemary and thyme, tied in cooking twine
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup red wine (I used a Rossese from Riviera Ligure di Ponente)
- 100 grams olive taggiasche
- 2 tablespoons pignolia
- 1 cup beef broth
- Prepare rabbit and pat dry to ensure browning. Heat olive oil in large dutch oven over medium heat and saute garlic and onions for several minutes until softened.
- Raise to medium high heat and add rabbit pieces on a single layer until lightly brown, about 3-4 minutes. Lightly salt. Add bouquet of rosemary & thyme, bay leaves, carrot, and celery stalk. Continue to brown rabbit until golden, several more minutes.
- Add glass of wine and deglaze pan, scraping off brown bits of onion and garlic on the bottom. Let wine reduce until have evaporated.
- Add olives, pine nuts, and reserved kidney and liver; mix well. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for about one hour, adding broth occasionally throughout (about a ladle each time).
- Large dutch oven
- Chef knife (meat carving knife preferred)
- Cooking twine
- Wooden spoon
- Measuring cup
- The olives are very important and should not be substituted with another variety
- Rossese di Dolceacqua is the best wine for cooking and pairing this dish and is what makes it truly Ligurian
- The rabbit pieces should be browned on a single layer; do not overcrowd! Make a half portion of the recipe if needed.