Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, CA, this recipe calls for Pinot Noir and Red Wine Vinegar to braise the rabbit, serving it with fresh pasta and seasoned with fresh thyme and garlic. Known for his use of regional ingredients, Valette's recipes help make Dry Creek Kitchen a favorite among many Sonoma County residents. It also doesn't hurt that the restaurant features over 600 Sonoma wines, vintages ranging anywhere from 1985 to 2007, including limited edition wines that aren't available anywhere else (including private auctions).
This recipe was featured just this past Sunday on the restaurant's special Easter Brunch menu, so if you happened to catch it at Dry Creek Kitchen and want to recreate it — or missed it and want to try it out — here's your chance!
Braised Rabbit Cavatelli
- 1 ea Fresh Local Rabbit, Skin Hair Removed, around 3 pounds
- ? ea Onion, peeled and cut into 8th
- ? ea Carrot, peeled and cut into 8th
- 4 ea Garlic, whole head, cut into half
- 1 bunch Fresh Thyme
- 1 qt Fresh Chicken Stock (sold at fine retailers)
- 2 oz Butter
- 12 oz Pinot Noir
- 1 oz Red Wine Vinegar
- 12 oz Fresh Pasta, preferably Cavatelli, though any shape will work
- 2 cups Fresh Watercress, washed
- 2 oz Parmesan Cheese, Fresh, Grated fine (a microplane works very well)
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Pepper
First start by removing all the meat from the carcass and cut into a medium dice. Season the rabbit with salt and pepper and sauté in a large sauté pan until it is golden brown, then add the cut onions, carrots, thyme, and coriander and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Deglaze with the red wine and red wine vinegar; reduce by half. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 2 hours or until the rabbit is tender. Once finished remove the thyme, adjust seasonings and reserve in a warm area.
Directions for Roasted Garlic:
While the Rabbit is cooking, take the cut garlic and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap each piece individually in aluminum foil and roast in an oven at 375 for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the garlic from the shell and puree half in a blender with a little chicken stock; the other half leave whole. Reserve warm.
Directions for Plating:
Boil the fresh pasta in salted water until cooked, usually around 3 minutes. In a saucepan, add the freshly cooked and drained pasta, roasted garlic cloves and braised rabbit. Toss with the butter and adjust seasoning then add the watercress. On a warm plate make a small circle with the pureed roasted garlic, place the rabbit pasta in the center and finish with a little fresh parmesan cheese.