Orecchiette with braised rabbit and Swiss chard

GBC Matt Orecchiette FILM 1080P 12 08 2021
  • 4
  • 2 hours plus 2 hours resting time for the pasta
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Making fresh orecchiette – a Puglian pasta shape meaning 'little ears' – is simple to do at home as it doesn't require any specialist equipment. Here, it's tossed in a light, elegant and buttery sauce of braised rabbit and Swiss chard, resulting in a wonderful dish that shows off plenty of Italian technique.

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First published in 2021





  • 170g of water
  • 225g of 00 flour
  • 170g of semolina, plus extra for dusting




Begin by making the orecchiette. Place the water, semolina and flour into a mixing bowl and bring together into a dough. Tip out on to a work surface and knead for around 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth, then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour

  • 170g of water
  • 225g of 00 flour
  • 170g of semolina, plus extra for dusting

After 1 hour, roll out the dough until around 1cm thick, then cut into 1cm cubes. Scatter some semolina onto a tray or plate and set aside. Take a cube and, using your thumb or a butter knife, scrape the dough against the work surface with a good amount of pressure so it curls up, then turn it inside out over your finger to create a shape that resembles a little ear. Place the orecchiette on the tray dusted with semolina, convex-side up. Repeat with the remaining cubes, then leave them uncovered at room temperature to dry out for around an hour


Meanwhile, prepare the rabbit. Preheat an oven to 170°C/gas mark 3½ and place a wide frying pan over a medium heat. Season the rabbit legs and shoulders well with salt, then add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan and sear them all over for around 2-3 minutes each side until lightly browned all over. Transfer the rabbit to a deep baking tray or casserole dish


Add the roughly chopped vegetables, garlic cloves, bay leaves and thyme to the same pan with a little more oil and gently fry over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until they just begin to brown. Pour in the wine, simmer for a few minutes to cook off the alcohol, then pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil


Once boiling, pour the contents of the pan into the tray or dish of rabbit. Place a sheet of baking paper on top, then wrap very tightly in foil. Transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour


Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Strip the chard leaves from their stalks, then blanch the leaves for 1 minute. Drain and immediately transfer the leaves to iced water to refresh, then drain again, squeeze the leaves to drain any excess water and roughly chop. Set aside


After 1 hour, remove the tray from the oven and transfer the rabbit to a plate and leave to cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, roughly shred the meat from the bones and set aside. Strain the braising liquid into a clean pan, discarding the vegetables


Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil for the pasta. While you wait, add a few ladlefuls of the strained stock into a sauté pan with the shredded rabbit meat. Gently heat through over a low-medium heat and add the butter, lemon zest and plenty of black pepper


Cook the pasta in the boiling water for 3-5 minutes, until al dente. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and add the orecchiette directly to the rabbit sauce with the chard, tossing vigorously to combine. The sauce should thicken and coat the pasta evenly – if it becomes too thick, you can add a little more stock

Divide the pasta between bowls and finish with a generous grating of Parmesan
First published in 2021

The rustic, seasonal Italian dishes executive chef Matt Beardmore cooks in the kitchen of Legare in London are punchy, packed with flavour and a testament to just how incredible Italy’s regional cuisine can be.

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