Last time we visited my parents in the Tuscan village they’ve retired to, we got invited to dinner by two brothers, Enzo and Franco. Enzo is a trained chef, and he cooked an absolutely perfect meal. Amaia has been raving about his rabbit ever since (she ate half of it), so when I asked her what she wanted to eat on her sixth birthday, it was no surprise that the answer was rabbit.
I therefore sent my dad down to their house to beg Enzo for the recipe, and I thought I’d share it with the world. It’s a wonderful dish — the rabbit is moist and tender.
- Chuck a lot of rosemary, sage and wild fennel (don’t substitute normal fennel if you don’t have any — just leave it out), nutmeg, garlic, olive oil, salt and chilli into a blender and process to obtain a thin paste. (Enzo used black pepper instead of chilli, put the whole garlic cloves into the rabbit instead of adding them at this stage, and I don’t think he used a blender.) I also added a bit of lemon juice after tasting it, but the recipe didn’t call for it.
- Rub the rabbits (I used two for eight people) inside and out with this paste. Put the rabbit livers and one or two thick slices of pancetta into each rabbit and tie them shut with some string.
- Put them into an oven at 180ºC. After half an hour, pour over enough white wine to cover the bottom.
- Cook them for another 60 to 90 minutes (depending on size), turning them over a couple of times.