You will find this iconic Italian stew on the menu of every self-respecting, family-style, countryside trattoria in Liguria. Easy to raise, quick to reproduce, and requiring limited space to house, rabbits rapidly became the livestock of choice in the harsh Ligurian hills. When simmered slowly with white wine and the flavors of local ingredients like olives and pine nuts, the naturally lean meat becomes juicy and irresistible. If sold whole, ask your butcher to cut the rabbit into 8 pieces for you and remove the head. If you like, request the kidneys and liver, which add an extra level of flavor to the dish.
This recipe, which is adapted from Laurel Evan’s cookbook, Liguria: The Cookbook: Recipes from the Italian Riviera, is easy to love and family-friendly, as the subtly flavored, tender, white meat is similar to chicken. Not a fan of rabbit? Feel free to substitute three and half pounds of chicken thighs and drumsticks, and reduce the cooking time to 40 minutes.
- One 3-lb. rabbit, with giblets, cut into 8 pieces
- ¼ cups plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
- ⅓ cups Taggiasche or Nicoise olives
- 2 tbsp. pine nuts
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 rosemary sprig
- ½ cups dry white wine
- ½ vegetable or chicken broth