Rigatoni in a Cheddar-Goat Cheese Sauce with Braised Rabbit: Using Leftovers

April 24, 2011 § 4 Comments

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I suggest serving this richness with a large pile of fresh, uncooked vegetables
You might not be able to find rabbit at your local supermarket, but if you happen to see it being sold at a farmer’s market, you might be interested in giving it a try. Apparently the French eat rabbit like we eat chicken in the US and they actually taste really similar – very mild and not gamey at all. And while the primal cuts are similar to a cow, lamb or pig since it is a mammal, it is about as easy to fabricate as a whole chicken … possibly even easier.
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We braised rabbit in class this week, so here I decided throw the fork-tender leftovers in baked pasta dish. I kept the flavors simple because the rabbit was already seasoned, but I decided to throw tarragon into the cheese sauce for an anisey contrast to the slightly bitter flavor from the mustard marinade (see the note below the ingredient list for how the rabbit was braised).
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rabbit + rabbit food

Rigatoni in a Cheddar-Goat Cheese Sauce with Braised Rabbit:

– 1 lb braised rabbit, pulled off the bone and pulled to pieces
– 1 lb dried rigatoni
– 4 tbsp butter
– 4 tbsp flour
– 2 1/2 cups milk
– 4 oz cheddar cheese, grated
– 1 2 oz log goat cheese, crumbled
– 1 1/2 tbsp dried tarragon, and more to taste
– salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions, strain and set aside. Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour and whisk over medium heat until slightly browned and nutty smelling. Add milk and continue to whisk until thickened. Add cheeses and whisk until thoroughly incorporated. Add rabbit and tarragon and taste to season. Add strained pasta to saucepan to fully incorporate the pasta and sauce and transfer to a 9×13 baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve and enjoy.
* this recipe is a vessel for leftovers (or one of those grocery store rotisserie chickens I always see people raving about), but here is the basic recipe I followed for the braised rabbit if you’re interested: Rabbit is cut into front legs/shoulder, back legs and loin (or saddle) and then left to marinate in stone-ground mustard. It is then seared in a hot oiled pan and aromatics are added to the pan (basic mirepoix: onions, carrots, celery). Stock is added to cover rabbit about halfway and brought to a boil and placed in a 350 degree oven until the rabbit is fork tender.
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