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Slow-braised rabbit with polenta, toasted pine nuts & grana

Ah, the wonder of polenta! The staple food of northern Italy is cheap, easy to cook and the perfect vehicle to carry the flavours of any sauce. If you have leftover polenta, pour it into a baking tray and leave in the fridge to set. Cut it into pieces the next day and grill or fry; enjoy with cured meats, cheese and salad for a light lunch. Recipe by Andre Ursini from the OzHarvest Cookbook.


  • Rabbit Ragu

  • 1–2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil,

  • plus extra to serve

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped

  • 100g pancetta, bacon or prosciutto, diced

  • 1 large rabbit, cut into 6–8 pieces

  • 250ml (1 cup) white wine

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 500–750ml (2–3 cups) chicken stock

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary

  • grated parmesan, to serve

  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted, to serve

  • Polenta

  • 200g fine-grain polenta

  • 150g butter, diced

  • grated parmesan, to taste


  • 1.

    To make the rabbit ragu, heat the olive oil in a heavy-based flameproof pot and add the onion, carrot, celery and pancetta. Fry, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelised. Increase the heat to high, add the rabbit and brown lightly on all sides. Stir in the wine and, while scraping the bottom of the pot, add the tomato paste, bay leaves and stock. Stir well, and season

  • 2.

    With salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, stir and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for approximately 2 hours, partially covered, until the rabbit flesh falls off the bone – check

  • 3.

    Occasionally and add a little more water if needed.

  • 4.

    Remove the rabbit from the sauce and, when cool enough to handle, remove the meat and shred it, discarding the bones. Return the meat to the pot, add the thyme and rosemary and heat through.

  • 5.

    To make the polenta, pour 1 litre (4 cups) water into a heavybased saucepan and bring to a slow boil. Whisk in the polenta slowly and cook over high heat for 5 minutes until thickened. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes, stirring every few minutes. If the polenta becomes too thick, add more water. Remove from the heat, add the butter and whisk until it melts. Stir in the parmesan and salt to taste.

  • 6.

    Pour the polenta into a serving dish and cover with rabbit ragu. Add the grated parmesan and pine nuts and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to serve.


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