Rabbit Ragusano

Photo: courtesy of Joseph Vargetto

Hand-Rolled Cavatelli with Slow-Cooked Rabbit 'Ragusano' by Joseph Vargetto

Joe Vargetto shares his iconic rabbit ragu recipe inspired by his Sicilian heritage and served at his hugely popular Mister Bianco restaurant in Melbourne. Serve with cavatelli pasta for maximum effect.

22 June, 2020
Average: 2.1 (26 votes)


serves for


total time

3 HR 0 MIN


For the Cavatelli
Type 00 flour
Large eggs, room temperature
Still mineral water
Extra virgin olive oil
For the Ragusana
1 (deboned and sliced)
Green olives
100g (small salted capers, rinsed from salt)
Cloves garlic
4 (finely chopped)
Roma tomatoes, diced
4 (roughly chopped)
1 onion
2 (peeled and finely chopped)
2 (small sticks, finely diced)
Dried rosemary
1 sprig
Pine nuts
Vegetable stock
3 litres
Dry white wine
Red wine vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup
Fine sea salt
To taste
Fresh-ground pepper
To taste
Ricotta cheese
200g (ricotta salata, grated)

Step 01

Pasta dough

Photo by Elle Hughes on Unsplash


To make the pasta dough:

Add the 2 types of flour in a bowl, make a well in the centre, add the eggs, water and oil.

Mix slowly with a fork until combined, then start kneading by hand (adding more water if necessary).

Knead on a lightly floured surface to form a dough, cover and set aside for at least 1 hour.

Step 02

To Make the Cavatelli by hand:

Cut the dough into 5 equal portions and roll out one-at-a-time on a floured work surface to approximately 1cm thick.

Cut into rectangles, 4cm wide, 2cm long.

Place rectangle of dough at the middle-top of the cavatelli board, then press the dough into the board with your thumb.

Still pressing your thumb into the board, smear the dough away from the handle. The dough should start to curl up behind your thumb. 

To finish, help the cavatelli to roll over on itself and knock it off the end of the board with your fingers.

Step 03

Rabbit ragu

Photo by LikeMeat on Unsplash

For the rabbit ragu:

In a heavy-based pan sauté the rabbit in the hot extra virgin olive oil until golden.

Add the onion, carrot, and celery.

Deglaze with the wine and vinegar. Then add the stock and simmer gently until it is soft.

Add the seasoning, tomatoes, olives, garlic and capers.

Continue to gently simmer for another 40 minutes to braise meat until tender, evaporate the juices.

Season to taste.

Step 04

Joseph Vargetto plating his rabbit ragu

Photo: courtesy of Joseph Vargetto

Final Preparation and Plating:

Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 20 minutes until al dente.

Then drain.

Reserve a little pasta water if required for the sauce.

Add the pasta rabbit sauce and toss to coat, spoon equally in plates and sprinkle with grated salted ricotta.

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