Rabbit Ragout with Soppressata and Pappardelle
Tom Colicchio learned to cook using Jacques Pépin's 1976 La Technique and 1979 La Methode. The books' lessons came in handy during an apprenticeship at the Hôtel de France in Gascony, in southwest France. One morning, Colicchio showed up for work after a long night of drinking. "The chef took one look at me, said ‘I have a job for you' and pointed at a box with a big, dead hare in it. Luckily, Jacques had written about prepping rabbit, so I knew what to do." Colicchio (an F&W Best New Chef 1991) perfected the dish below when he was working at Manhattan's Gramercy Tavern, braising the tender rabbit with sweet tomatoes, spicy soppressata and olives.Plus: Pasta Recipes and Tips
Rabbit is sold at butcher shops and farmers' markets, and by D'Artagnan (800-327-8246, class="_external">dartagnan.com
Rabbit is a lighter meat, but the spicy soppressata and briny Niçoise olives in this ragout call for a substantial red wine. A robust bottling from France's Côtes-du-Rhône region would make an ideal pairing.