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Pappardelle with Hare Sauce

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Friday, 06 January 2012
List of viewable recipes from "Country Cooking of Italy" by Colman Andrews

Recipe from Country Cooking of Italy by Colman Andrews (Chronicle Books, 2011)

ImageThis is one of the most famous of Tuscan pasta forms, its name deriving from the verb pappare, "to gobble," presumably on the theory that its goodness will encourage the eater to do just that. Recipes for the dish published in America typically call for rabbit instead of hare, which has never made any sense to me. There's nothing wrong with rabbit, certainly, but it is fairly bland compared to its wild cousin, and is no more an apt substitute than, say, chicken would be in a recipe for roast partridge. Real wild-shot Scottish hare is available in this country, fresh in season (roughly August through February) and frozen otherwise; it is expensive, but essential to this preparation. Around Arezzo, which claims pappardelle with hare sauce as a local recipe, the hare is supposed to be hung for at least two days before it is cooked, but this probably isn't necessary. (The "Belgian hare" sometimes kept as a house pet, incidentally, has nothing to worry about: it is really a rabbit bred to look like a hare, and probably wouldn't make great eating.)

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1/2 cup/120 milliliters red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups/480 milliliters dry red wine
  • 5 tablespoons/75 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 wild hare, 3 to 4 pounds/1.5 to 2 kilograms, cut into 6 or 8 pieces
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 6 to 8 sage leaves, julienned
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup/240 milliliters tomato sauce, homemade or commercial
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste, homemade or commercial
  • 1 pound/500 grams pappardelle, homemade or commercial (fresh or dried)
  • Grated parmigiano-reggiano for serving

Combine the vinegar, half the wine, and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a baking dish large enough to hold the hare. Add the garlic, rosemary, and bay. Cover the baking dish and set aside for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, add the hare and marinate it for 2 hours at room temperature, turning it after the first hour.

When the hare is almost ready to come out of the marinade, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and sage, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften and begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the hare pieces from the marinade (discard the marinade), blot them dry, and add them to the frying pan. Continue cooking, turning the hare frequently, until the hare is lightly browned and the vegetables are caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with the remaining wine, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Continue cooking until wine has evaporated, then stir in the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring and turning the hare occasionally, until the hare is very tender, about 1 hour.

Remove the hare from the frying pan, turning off the heat but leaving the sauce in the covered frying pan. Set the hare aside to cool. When it is cool enough to handle, pick the meat from the bones with your hands, shred it, and return it to the frying pan. Stir it in well, then cover the frying pan and keep the sauce warm over very low heat, stirring occasionally.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta to the pot and cook until just done, 3 to 4 minutes for fresh pasta and 8 to 12 minutes for dried.

Drain the pasta, then transfer to a warmed serving bowl, add the sauce, and toss well. Pass the cheese at the table.

Lamb Broth

Makes 2 to 3 quarts/2 to 3 liters

  • 4 pounds/2 kilograms meaty lamb bones
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Put the bones, onion, carrots, celery, and oil into a large pot. Add 6 quarts/6 liters water, or as much as you need to cover the ingredients completely. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, skimming any foam that forms on the surface as needed, until the liquid has reduced by half, 3 to 4 hours.

Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids. Rinse out the pot, then return the broth to it and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat, let cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate until chilled, then remove the fat that has solidified on the surface. Use immediately, or transfer to conveniently sized airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months.


Last Updated ( Sunday, 08 January 2012 )
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