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Alessi cuisine



Pappardelle with hare, chasseur style

(Pappardelle sulla lepre alla cacciatora)

  • 400 grams of egg pappardelle
  • half hare already peeled and cleaned from its entrails, about 1,800 kilos
  • 200 grams of minced beef meat (the meat of the cheek)
  • a very fresh pork sausage
  • a chopped mixture composed by:
    one onion
    2 celery ribs
    one carrot
    a small bunch of parsley
    a small leek
    one garlic cloves
  • a blended mixture composed by:
    4 garlic cloves
    the leaves of 2 small branches of rosemary
    7-8 leaves of sage
    a big pinch, each, of oregano dried leaves, basil, calamint, and then 8 juniper berries
    a pinch of fennel seeds
    the skin (but only the yellow part) of an entire lemon
    5 spoons of red vinegar
    1 meat stock cube and 1 boletus mushrooms stock cube
    200 grams of tomato purée
    olive oil
    salt and pepper
Remove the half head and the neck of the hare (some people use it; not us!), then cut it in pieces not too small (about 12 pieces) with decided strokes of a big knife: the strokes have to be decided because you do not have to produce any fragments of bones, which would come out very troublesome in the sauce. Rinse these pieces very well and leave them in a container, for at least one hour, under some water. In the meanwhile take a pan for stewed preparations, adequately large, put 8 or 9 spoons of oil, then the peeled sausage, completely crumbled. Put over the heat, let this stuff brown over a medium-high heat, continuously turning and after 2 or 3 minutes, as soon as the grease will be melt, add the chopped vegetables. Always over a medium-high heat let the ingredients brown for at least 30 minutes or until the whole stuff would get a quite dark hazelnut colour, taking care of turning the stuff very often. Now add the minced meat, turn it and mix it with the chopped vegetables, let it flavour with them and, at the same time, parboil and then (in the meanwhile you should have prepared the blended mixture together with half litre of very hot water) by gradually adding small quantities of this mixture of herbs, make it brown very well. Drain and dry the hare from the water, put also this one in the pan, behaving in the same manner as the minced meat, that means browning over a quite brisky heat, without drying the sauce, so that you have to add gradually the aromatic mixture and turn it often.
You will need at least 30 minutes more.* When the hare will be well browned and the stuff will result perfectly incorporated with the flavours, add the tomato purée and some spoons of hot water, if the stuff would result too thick. Adjust for a soft cooking, cover the pan with a lid and let the stuff boil very slowly, turning it sometimes, cook for other 30 minutes, or until the hare will be very very tender. Add some spoons of hot water if necessary, add some salt (if necessary) and abundant pepper and spices some minutes before switching off; then switch off, let settle for 3-4 hours, but if it is possible, an entire night would be better, in a fresh place but not in the refrigerator.
Thirty minutes before serving this recipe, when the pan is already cooled, remove all the grease and the greasiness in excess (in the event they have been formed on the surface of the stuff sauce-hare), then take out all the pieces of hare, separating shoulder and cutlets from loins and legs. Put the latter ones, the fleshy parts, in another saucepan together with 7 or 8 spoons of sauce to use them for the following preparation. Shoulders and cutlets should be cleaned from the bones (and these ones dropped), then the meat should be beaten finely and put once again in the pan; cover the pan with a lid, turn the meat very often and let the stuff boil slowly.
After that cook the pasta, put it in a frying pan together with a knob of butter and 4 or 5 spoons of hare sauce; let it sauté in order to mix it (using some spoons of the cooking water of the pasta), add some more sauce, let it shrink and then put in the plates; put the sauce also in a sauce boat as you can season the pasta at your pleasure. Do not use any type of cheese, because it would flatten the large amounts of aromatic features of this preparation and, moreover, it would be completely discordant with the prickly smells of wild, vinegar and strong herbs.
This is a typical example of Tuscany cooking. The balances are reached by addition, over extreme levels of flavours, and not by reducing the excesses. The wild taste of the hare is not felt excessive if it is taken back to its natural environment, meadows and wood, re-create "artificially" around in its whole fragrance. So that no more devitalization of the meats, but excitement of the aroma for complete flavour, orgiastic, involving and distorting any weakened, and also flat, sensuality. All this happens in the exaltation of the nature, of its characters, of the events it produces, forged by the fire. These pappardelle represent a "sagra della primavera" (a feast of the spring) of Stravinskji memory and, last but not least, the same concept of approach human being- food on which it is based, especially in a period where the food is canned, frozen and not sensual: "Questo senso di vigorosa corporale vitalità è caratteristico degli Etruschi" (D.H. Lawrence).

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati

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