A month ago I was a twitter cynic, adamant that it was a pointless waste of time for pointless time wasters. However, I think my hat may need to be eaten because I am now, officially, a big fan. Last week I tweeted “where can you buy wild wabbit in London at a fair price??” and one of our followers, a fellow secret restaurateur, replied “got a couple in my freezer at the moment if you want them – still fresh or will be the weekend after next I think“. So, with a few more brief exchanges we arranged to meet at my namesake’s Deli Café and make the exchange – very gangster. After a ginger beer and the crossword with Ellie (which we finished in record time may I add), I set off home on my bike – the defrosting rabbits in my rucksack keeping me cool and making me grin and marvel at what the internet can facilitate these days, like a batty old woman.
This euphoria soon abated when I was faced with the reality of having two little bunnies to dismember. I am not at all squeamish or prissy about blood and guts but there is something about the physical form of rabbits, even when skinned and headless, that remains playful and innocent – the legs almost seemed frozen mid-hop. Anyway, enough of that, I had ragu to make. There was a lot of chopping involved here… first, the animals. I won’t pretend this was done with finesse – I kind of hacked and smashed and pulled until all the meat was free of the bone, any stray tufts of fur were removed and the organs were disposed of. I then chopped the meat into small chunks and set aside. For the rest, I turned to Jamie.
Turn the oven on to 180ºC. Pour a glug of olive oil into a casserole type pan and put it on the heat. Add one chopped onion, 2 diced carrots, half a diced swede, a sprig of rosemary, a handful of thyme leaves and 2 bay leaves – cook gently for 10 minutes. Stir in the meat with a tablespoon of flour and a large glass of white wine, then add a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Pour in 500ml of chicken stock – there should be enough to just cover the meat. Bring to a gentle boil, cover and place in the preheated oven for 1½ hours, until the meat falls apart easily (I gave it 2 hours).
Towards the end of the 2 hours, cook your pasta. Sadly, I couldn’t find any parpadelle nearby so I broke up some lasagne sheets instead – use plenty of olive oil and keep stirring when you do this as they like to stick together. While the pasta’s cooking, remove the bay leaves from the sauce and add a knob of butter. Beat in some Parmesan and the zest of half an orange. Place the lid on top and finely chop some flat leaf parsley ready for sprinkling at the last moment.
Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water and tip it onto a big plate. Cover with the ragu and the chopped parsley, adding some of the reserved cooking water if the sauce looks to dry – it should be silky and loose. Serve with some grated Parmesan and the remaining orange zest (although in retrospect I would leave out this last bit of zest – it made it a tiny bit too fruity).
Et voila… tasty wild wabbit wagu from twitter to plate.