There is something about grilling or griddling vegetables that really concentrates their flavour, and when you have the first baby vegetables ready in the spring it is the best way to maximise their special flavour. I frequently have just a plate of the mixed vegetables, but today I wanted to make a more substantial main course. For a vegetarian option substitute some mozerella, the proper made with buffalo milk, in my opinion mozerella cannot be made with anything else, for the rabbit.
20 gms 00 pasta flour
1 large egg yolk
pinch of salt
100 gms rabbit meat
small sprig each of fresh oregano and thyme
6 cloves sweet garlic
100 ml chicken stock
Mixture of spring vegetables – a selection of the following –
baby courgettes and their flowers if you have them, green asparagus, sweet onion, baby aubergine, Florence fennel.
For the pasta – put the flour, egg yolk and salt in a small food processor and blend to a dough. Remove from the blender and with floured hands form into a ball. Wrap in cling film and put into the fridge to rest until needed later.
Peel the cloves of garlic. If some are much bigger than others, halve them so that they all cook evenly.
Cut the rabbit into small pieces.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan, add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the rabbit and continue frying for another 8-10 minutes stirring from time to time.
Add the chicken stock and the herbs. Stir again to mix in all the brownings from the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season the rabbit. If the rabbit is done before the rest of the dish, then turn it off and let it continue slowly cooking in its stock until needed.
Put a pan of water on to heat up for the pasta. Add salt and a dash of olive oil to it.
Prepare the vegetables. Cut the courgettes in half lengthways, slice the onion into thick slices, slice the aubergine. The vegetables are left quite large at this point so that they are quicker to turn over during cooking. Put all the vegetables including the asparagus into a container and smear with olive oil.
Put the vegetables under the grill on a medium heat or on a griddle over a lowish heat. Cook turning every few minutes until the vegetables are browned and cooked but still have some bite. Season with salt.
While the vegetables are cooking, roll the pasta with a pasta machine in the usual way until it is pale and pliable. Then start rolling the pasta thinner until you reach no7 on most machines. Then cut into tagliatelle.
Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook for 3-4 minutes until cooked al dente. Drain.
Reheat the rabbit if needed and add the pasta. Remove the vegetables from the grill or griddle and cut into bite sized pieces. Add to the pasta and rabbit and mix well.
If you are making the vegetarian version of this dish, once you have grilled the vegetables and cut them up, then cooked the pasta and drained it, mix the two. Then add mozerella ripped into small pieces, mix in and serve.