Many pasta dishes are great for a weeknight meal, as they take no longer to prepare than it takes to cook the pasta. This is another example of such a dish, not a classic Italian recipe but something that came around from what I had in my refrigerator. The combination of fennel and rabbit worked out nicely. Rabbit loin is very tender and has a nice subtle flavor to it. Dusting the rabbit pieces with semolina flour provides a nice crust. If it is unlikely that you encounter rabbit loin in your refrigerator, you could always substitute with bonesless and skinless chicken (thighs or breast). Here’s what I did.
150 grams (.33 lb) penne pasta
225 grams (.5 lb) rabbit loin
1 fennel bulb, cleaned and cut into strips
1 clove garlic
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
semolina flour (or regular flour) for dusting
Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and add the garlic clove, peeled only. Cook it until it’s golden, but don’t let it turn brown.
Cut the rabbit into cubes, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and dust them with flour. Use semolina flour if you have it, as it provides a nicer crust. Brown the rabbit quickly in the hot oil until the rabbit pieces are lightly golden. The rabbit does not have to be cooked through at this point, as it will continue to cook from the residual heat while it rests.
Turn off the heat and remove the rabbit pieces with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Discard the garlic clove.
Add the fennel, season with salt, and toss to coat with the oil.
Cover the fennel and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
By now the water for the pasta should be boiling. Add salt and pasta and cook al dente according to package instructions.
Add the thyme and cook, stirring, for a minute.
Add the white wine and cook over high heat, stirring, until most of the wine has evaporated. Then turn the heat to low.
Add the rabbit pieces to the fennel and allow to warm through.
Drain the pasta when it’s al dente and add to the fennel and rabbit.
Serve on preheated plates, sprinkled with parmigiano.
This simple but delicious cherry cake looks like clafoutis, but it is more cake and less flan than a clafoutis.
4 thoughts on “Pasta with Rabbit and Fennel (Penne Coniglio e Finocchio)”
Such a great dish! I was unaware that supermarkets sold rabbit. Do you buy the meat at a regular supermarket or do you go to a specialty store?
I got it at a specialty store. Here in the Netherlands, rabbit is sold in supermarkets only for the holidays (Christmas and Easter).
Delicious. I love rabbit, fennel, and pasta, but have never thought of combining those three things together. I love how versatile pasta is, and how you can come up with an almost endless amount of different combinations, and it will always be delicious. Very nice post, Stefan.