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Venetian Sautéed Rabbit with Herbs

This is Marcella Hazan’s recipe. She prepared it for lunch on the terrace outside the lovely, antique-filled top-floor apartment she and her husband, Victor, share in the Cannaregio district of Venice. The Hazan’s served the quail with polenta.


Sauteed rabbit with herbs

Course Main Course
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 5


  • 2 rabbits, cut in serving pieces
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh sage
  • 6 cloves garlic crushed
  • 4 tbsp (60 ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 30 gr carrot finely chopped
  • 1 cup (40 gr) celery finely chopped
  • 30 gr onion finely chopped
  • 250 gr crushed, well-drained fresh or canned plum (egg) tomatoes
  • 375 ml dry white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (125 ml) of water (approximately)
  • 2 cups (250 g) small white mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp flat-leaf Italian parsley finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme finely chopped


  • Place the rabbit pieces in a large bowl and toss with the sprigs of rosemary, thyme, and sage, 2 cloves of the garlic, and 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of the oil. Set aside to marinate for 4 hours.
  • In a large sauté pan, heat ½ tablespoon of the remaining oil, add the rabbit pieces and sauté over high heat until they are lightly browned. Remove them from the pan.
  • Add the carrot, celery, onion, and remaining garlic to the pan, sauté until the vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes to the pan, then stir in the wine.
  • Bring to a simmer, return the rabbit pieces to the pan, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add a little water if necessary, so that the rabbit is barely covered with the sauce. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Place a piece of foil directly on the surface of the ingredients, place the pan in the oven, and bake for 2 hours.
  • Add a little more water if necessary. While the rabbit is baking sauté the mushrooms over high heat in the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil.
  • After the rabbit has baked for 1 ½ hours, add the sauté mushrooms to the pan.
  • When the rabbit is done, check the seasonings. Add the chopped herbs and serve.
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