"This ragù bianco is even better, softer and more delicious if made the day beforehand," says Don Johnston of Don Peppino's.
- 500 gm rigatoni
- Finely grated pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano, to serve
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 1½ onions, finely diced
- 3 celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 100 gm pancetta, diced
- 40 gm anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 8 garlic cloves
- 600 gm coarsely minced pork shoulder
- 400 gm coarsely minced chicken thigh
- 1 small rabbit (see note), jointed
- 60 gm tomato paste
- 120 ml white wine
- 100 ml milk
- 1Heat a large casserole or large over medium heat, add vegetables and half the oil and let the soffritto sizzle a little and begin to steam (5 minutes). Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring regularly, until you are left with a sweet, rich paste (1 hour). Transfer to a bowl.
- 2Meanwhile, blend the pancetta, anchovy and garlic to a paste in a food processor.
- 3Add remaining oil to the casserole with pancetta paste and stir over medium-high heat until colour darkens and mixture is fragrant (8-10 minutes). Add pork, chicken and rabbit, reduce heat to medium and cook, breaking up mince with a wooden spoon. The rabbit will bash around getting in the way; just let it be. Add tomato paste, and stir until caramelised (4-5 minutes), then add wine and cook until evaporated (8-10 minutes). Return soffritto to the casserole, season to taste, cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until ragù is well flavoured and rabbit can be pulled from the bone (1½ hours). Stir in milk, cook for a final 10 minutes, then season to taste.
- 4Remove rabbit from sauce and cool briefly. Shred meat with your hands, discarding bones. Add to ragù and keep warm.
- 5Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (10-12 minutes). Drain, reserving pasta water, then add drained pasta to ragù, loosening with a little pasta water if necessary. Serve pasta sprinkled with pecorino if you're feeling southern or Reggiano if you're in a northern vibe.
Order rabbit in advance from select butchers.