Braised Rabbit in Tuscan Sauce

READY IN: 2hrs 30mins
SERVES: 8-10




  • For Sauce.
  • Heat oil in heavy 4-quart nonaluminum saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add onion,carrot,celery and parsley and brown, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes.
  • Add garlic and basil and cook 15 seconds.
  • Mix in tomatoes.
  • Reduce heat and simmer until reduced and thick,stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
  • Can be prepared 3 days ahead and refrigerated.
  • For Rabbit.
  • Remove long loin piece on each side of backbone by cutting between meat and bone with sharp knife.
  • Halve each loin crosswise;cut off remaining meat from bones.
  • Put rabbit meat in large bowl; mix in wine,bay leaves,garlic, rosemary, pepper and cloves.
  • Marinate at least 5 hours at cool room temperature or overnight in refrigerator, turning occasionally.
  • Remove rabbit from marinade and pat dry;reserve marinade.
  • Heat oil in nonaluminum heavy large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add pancetta and brown, stirring frequently.
  • Remove, using a slotted spoon.
  • Add rabbit loins to skillet and sear on all sides; do not brown.
  • Cool and refrigerate.
  • Brown remaining rabbit meat over medium heat in batches(do not crowd).
  • Transfer to heavy 5-quart saucepan, using a slotted spoon.
  • Pour off all but 3 tablespoonfuls fat from skillet.
  • Add pancetta to skillet and stir over medium heat 2 minutes;pour in marinade.
  • Simmer until reduced to thick syrup, scraping up any browned bits, about 25 minutes.
  • Pour over rabbit meat (keep loin refrigerated).
  • Stir in tomato sauce;cover partially and simmer gently until rabbit meat is tender, about 25 minutes;cool.
  • Refrigerate tomato mixture overnight(can be prepared 2 days ahead).
  • Bring tomato mixture to a simmer;stir in loin pieces and simmer until tender, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.
  • Discard bay leaves and fresh rosemary.
  • Transfer rabbit mixture to platter.
  • Serve immediately with polenta or pasta.