Rabbit Ragu Pappardelle

The best recipes are almost always circonstancial.

Whether it’s a trip to the farmer’s market, a recent visit to a new favourite restaurant or simply a massive fridge forage and the realisation that half of what’s in it needs using, those lightbulb moments are what inspire me most in the kitchen.

With Autumn being very much on its way, I’ve been craving comfort food more and more in the last few days.

So of course, I turned to Italian classics, because as much as I wish the French would do better at it, nobody does comfort food quite like the Italians…

Rabbit Ragu Pappardelle recipe | Cake + Whisky

With bolognese on my mind, I went on a little bit of a fridge/freezer forage.

Memories of a beautiful pasta dish we had in Paris, the last few remaining pieces of rabbit my grandma brought in her luggage when she last visited, a can of olives fished from the back of a cupboard, a few bits and bobs from a previous Farmdrop order

… slowly, all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place and this rich and zingy Rabbit Ragu Pappardelle recipe was born!

Rabbit Ragu Pappardelle recipe | Cake + Whisky

Rabbit Ragu Pappardelle (serves 2-3)

Ingredients: 250g fresh pappardelle (I get mine from La Tua Pasta via Farmdrop), 1/2 rabbit (about 600g, preferably leg pieces as they have fewer small bones), 1 small shallot (finely chopped), 2 rashers of smoked bacon, cut into small pieces, handful of cherry tomatoes (about 200g, chopped roughly), small handful pitted black olives (about 15, sliced), 1L good quality chicken or vegetable stock, zest of 1/4 lemon (grated), 2 bay leaves, 1 fresh sprig of thyme, pinch of smoked paprika, 5 pepper corns + freshly ground black pepper, sea salt, good quality olive oil, grated parmesan to serve

1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat up 2 tbs of olive oil, then add the rabbit pieces. Season with a small pinch of sea salt. Cook over high heat for a few minutes until golden. Add the bay leaves and the peppercorns, then pour in the chicken/vegetable stock. Cover the pot, reduce to a small simmer and cook for about an hour or until the meat starts falling off the bones, topping with a little bit of water if necessary.

2. Take the rabbit pieces off the cooking stock and let if cool off before taking all the meat off the bones. Discard the bones and shred the rabbit to bite-sized pieces.

3. Cook the pappardelle according to packaging instructions.

4. In a large pan or wok, heat up 2 tbs of olive oil. Add the chopped shallot and the bacon bits and cook until golden. Add the tomatoes and cook until they start breaking down (about 5-10 min), adding a bit of the cooking stock if necessary. Throw in the sliced olives, lemon zest and smoked paprika, season with salt and pepper and cook for another 2-3 min.

5. Drain the pasta, add to the pan and toss to coat. Serve immediately with some freshly grated parmesan.

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Rabbit Ragu Pappardelle recipe | Cake + Whisky

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Rabbit Ragu Pappardelle

Bocca di Luppo

Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.” – Sophia Loren

Since it’s been so succesful on her, I thought I might try the Italian diet for myself with a visit to one of London’s favourite Italian restaurants: Bocca di Luppo.

Bocca di Luppo, Italian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

Yes, getting a table is difficult. That’s the problem with good food: it attracks the crowds.

But if you’re at the door right when it opens, it should be too much of a problem (good to know if you’re on the lookout for some pre-theatre dinner!)

Bocca di Luppo, Italian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

Along with the table came a basket of Italian breads and a few olives to nibble on. Carb paradise I hear you say?

Bocca di Luppo, Italian restaurant, London | Cake + WhiskyBocca di Luppo, Italian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

The Sea bream carpaccio with orange and rosemary was truly magnificent and most probably my favourite dish that night.

I mean, raw fish, citrus and pesto all in one dish? It’s like they didn’t even give me a chance not to fall in love with it.

Bocca di Luppo, Italian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

The Cured beef carpaccio with rocket and shaved parmesan was another highlight, thanks to the deep savoury notes and the melt-in-the-mouth quality of the beef.

A definite must-order for meat lovers this one!

Bocca di Luppo, Italian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

Even better with a couple of glasses of wine…

Bocca di Luppo, Italian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

Artichoke alla giudia (deep-fried) was both wonderfully beautiful (doesn’t it look just like a camelia flower? So Chanel!) and incredibly more-ish.

And don’t even get me started on the Buffalo mozzarella bocconcini.

Bocca di Luppo, Italian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

Yes, that IS indeed mini balls of mozzarella that have bean crumbed and then deep-fried.

Bottomline is: order those. But I doubt I really needed to tell you that, did I?

Bocca di Luppo, Italian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

I must admit I was a little scared of trying the Fried Lamb Chop with peaches and rosemary but I really shouldn’t have been.

Clearly, the guys at Bocca di Luppo know what they’re doing if they can pull off this kind of weird combination.

And how brilliant is tempura rosemary eh? #BorderlineGenius

Bocca di Luppo, Italian restaurant, London | Cake + WhiskyBocca di Luppo, Italian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

On the other end of the risky choice spectrum was the Tagliatelle with Duck RagĂš.

Basically the DNA of Italian cuisine and an absolute must-order.

Bocca di Luppo, Italian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

But do make sure you keep a bit of room for dessert, because they’re truly spectacular.

We skipped the Gelupo ice cream (tough job!) but the Bonet chocolate, coffee, amaretti, caramel and rum pudding was well worth the sacrifice.

Indulgence on a plate is what it should be called, I’m telling you.

Bocca di Luppo, Italian restaurant, London | Cake + Whisky

Especially when it comes with Caffe alla nocciola (with egg yolk and hazelnut).

A match made in heaven and one I truly encourage you to try.

Together with literally EVERYTHING ELSE on the menu.

Bocca di Luppo, 12 Archer St, London W1D 7BB Bocca Di Lupo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bocca di Luppo