Braised Rabbit and Ramp Pesto Cavatelli Pasta

Cook Time 3-4 hours
Yield Serves 4
RECIPE Ingredients
  • 1 pack rabbit legs
  • Olive oil or duck fat
  • Salt
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 shallot, halved
  • ½ cup good quality sherry vinegar
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • Small handful of fresh thyme
  • 1 lb fresh cavatelli pasta
  • Handful of ramp tops (cut in ½” slices)
  • ½ cup peas
  • ¾ cup ramp pesto
  • ½ cup Asiago cheese, shaved (adjust to taste)
Recipe notes

Tender braised rabbit leg is the perfect topping for this herbaceous cavatelli pasta, and the fragrant ramp pesto offers a satisfying garlicky kick. No ramps? No problem. Basil pesto serves as an excellent substitute and nicely complements the succulent rabbit and tender pasta.

RECIPE Preparation

    Braised Rabbit:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (if using convection) or 350°F (if using conventional).
  2. Season the rabbit legs generously with salt.
  3. In a ceramic Dutch oven, heat olive oil or duck fat over medium-high heat. Brown the rabbit legs on both sides until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
  4. Add the chopped carrot, celery, onion, crushed garlic, and halved shallot to the Dutch oven. Cook until the vegetables are caramelized.
  5. Deglaze the Dutch oven with the sherry vinegar, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.
  6. Pour in the chicken stock and add the fresh thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  7. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface. Season with salt to taste.
  8. Return the rabbit legs to the Dutch oven, cover with a lid, and place in the preheated oven.
  9. Braise the rabbit legs for approximately 2-3 hours, or until the meat begins to pull away from the bone.
  10. Once cooked, allow the rabbit and broth to cool slightly. Remove the legs from the broth and set aside. Drain the broth and reserve it for later use.
  11. Once slightly cooled, remove the meat from the bones and shred it into bite-sized pieces.

Cavatelli and Assembly:

  1. Cook the cavatelli pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cooked cavatelli, ramp tops, peas, ramp pesto, shredded rabbit meat, and shaved Asiago cheese. Gently fold all the ingredients together.
  3. Gradually add in about ½ cup of hot reserved braising liquid to make the pasta saucier. Stir to coat the pasta and ingredients evenly. Adjust the amount of liquid as needed to achieve your desired consistency.
  4. Serve the braised rabbit and ramp pesto cavatelli in pasta bowls, garnishing each portion with additional shaved Asiago cheese. For a meatier portion and elegant presentation, consider adding a whole braised rabbit leg on top of each serving.

Check out other uses for wild ramps here.