It is Easter Monday, and we are required to shelter-in-place for at least another three weeks. We had a very quiet Easter with just my husband and I at home, but if we can stay safe through this challenging time, then I am okay with it. Although we are doing a lot of cooking, I haven’t been working on many new recipes for the blog. Instead, we are preparing old favorites that comfort us in this stressful time that are on the blog already. To help get me through the isolation, I have been going through my old photos of Italy, hoping that we will be back in Italy this fall. My husband and I were both disappointed to cancel our usual spring trip to Italy. Still, with the Pandemic winding up, it just wasn’t the right time.
Although I will eat just about anything, I was never a huge fan of rabbit. We never had it at home growing up, and the first time I had tasted it, was at my Mother-In-Law’s house after I was married. Although she prepared it well, it just wasn’t one of my favorite dishes that she made. My feelings changed though after enjoying a fantastic braised rabbit dish in San Gimignano a few years ago. It was early spring and very cool and rainy. We decided to explore the beautiful, small walled medieval hill town despite the heavy rain. We spent a couple of hours huddled under umbrellas in our rain slickers, walking through the charming town. By lunch, we were wet and freezing and decided to find a restaurant to enjoy a traditional Tuscan lunch and to warm up and get dry. The restaurant we chose was a tiny, charming one with a big roaring fire warming up the small dining room. We shared a couple of courses, then took the owner’s recommendation to eat the braised rabbit. It was slowly braised in wine with fresh rosemary, and I must admit it was love at first bite. That one meal changed my feelings about rabbit, and since then, I have prepared it at home many times.
Fresh rabbit isn’t always easy to find here in North America. Still, in Umbria, Italy, where we live part of every year, it can be found in almost every grocery store. This rabbit is very tender and moist, and since rabbit is very lean and can be tough if not prepared carefully, this has become my favorite way to cook it. I serve the rabbit with tender white beans, or oven-roasted potatoes and sautéed greens.