Bucatini with Rabbit, Morel Mushrooms, and Brussels Sprout Leaves

Recipe courtesy of Chef Lorenzo Boni.

Rabbit is very common in Italy, especially in the North-Central regions. At Chef Lorenzo Boni’s restaurant in Bologna, he served it quite often, and loved combining it with mushrooms in season. In this recipe, he takes that traditional way of cooking rabbit and combines it with morel mushrooms and Brussels sprouts for flavor and color. He likes morels because they dry so well, and you can use them year-round. The brussel sprouts are baked crispy, so they add a bit of texture, too. Bucatini has a nice thick wall, and the hole in the middle will hold the sauce beautifully. Pairing it with rabbit is quite traditional. Buon appetito!

3 pounds Barilla Bucatini
3 small (1 1/2 pound total) rabbits
salt and pepper
all purpose flour
9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic
3 cups dry white wine
6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 ounces dried morel mushrooms, rehydrated
18 brussels sprouts, split into leaves
1 1/2 cups grated parmigiano-reggiano
  1. Cook the Barilla pasta for half the time indicated on the package. Drain pasta and drizzle with some olive oil to prevent from sticking. Place pasta flat on sheet trays or hotel pans and cool in a blast chiller. ternatively, cool it down in a walk-in cooler. Store in zip lock bags or sealed plastic container; refrigerate and use within several hours.
  2. Cut up the rabbit backs into 1 ounce pieces, take the bones out of the legs and dice the meat. Season the pieces with salt and pepper and dredge with flour.
  3. In a hot skillet, brown rabbit pieces with 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, and rosemary over high heat. Deglaze with wine and reduce to half. Add chicken stock, leg bones, bring to a boil, then place in a 400-degree oven uncovered for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. When the meat is tender, remove bones, garlic cloves and rosemary.
  4. Sauté morel mushrooms in a hot skillet with 3 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  5. Season brussels sprouts leaves with 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper; spread on a sheet pan and bake until slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

For each serving, to order:

  1. Reheat about 1 1/4 cups pasta in simmering water.
  2. Drain and add it to a pan with some of the rabbit sauce.
  3. Stir in some of the morels and sprout leaves.
  4. Warm through and plate. Garnish with 1 tablespoons parmigiano.