A number of years ago, I had the pleasure of writing a short story and recipe for the magazine "Italian Cooking & Living." It was published under the section "Heirloom" meaning that along with the recipe, a short story of where and how the recipe came about would be added. I have so many recipes that could fall under "Heirloom" from both sides of my family but for a number of reasons, I submitted my nonna's recipe for rabbit. She was a sickly woman, and unlike many nonnas that spend hours upon hours at the stove, her time cooking was actually limited, which to me, made her recipes and cooking that much more special. I admit, it's not something I make all too often. For one reason, fresh rabbit can be hard to find, secondly, it is a bit more expensive and not as meaty as the cheaper counterpart, chicken. You can use the same exact method for chicken thighs and they come out divine. We made it recently and added a few strips of sweet red bell pepper, it was delicious! I'm looking forward to having it again at Easter time. Of course, it's not like nonna made, nothing will ever come out the way our nonnas made them. However the fact that these recipes remind us of them is really all that matters. Getting a recipe published in a national magazine (now no longer in print) was extremely exciting, though I admit, the best part by far was picking up this magazine at the bookstore and opening it up to see a picture of my grandparents right in front of me!! They would have gotten such a kick out of it!!
1 young rabbit
2 cups light white wine
4 to 5 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons basil, chopped
2 to 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 sprig of rosemary, stem removed
½ tablespoon oregano
10-12 olives of your choice, pitted
2-3 bay leaves
salt to taste
In a large mixing bowl submerge the rabbit in cold water. Cover the bowl with tin foil or a lid and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Rinse the rabbit in cold water. In a large skillet over medium heat, place the rabbit and bring to a light boil with the wine. Simmer these two ingredients for about 20 minutes, or until about ½ of the wine has evaporated, turning the rabbit once or twice. At this point, the rabbit will start to take a lighter color in appearance. Gently add in the rest of the ingredients and let simmer on low to medium heat for an additional 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Gently arrange the rabbit on a warmed platter and enjoy. Serves 4.
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