Tagliatelle with Rabbit Sauce
When I was a child, my mother often brought me to Grandma Ada's. My maternal grandparents lived in the open countryside, in Cascina in the county of Castiglione Del Lago, where they worked their piece of land. In the early '60's, there still wasn't electric light here. My grandmother would often cook rabbit for the sauce to put on the tagliatelle that she made herself on an old spianatoia, a special pasta-making table. The main ingredients were, of course, all extremely fresh, taken straight from the farmyard. Grandma Ada scooped the rabbit straight from its cage, killed it, cleaned it and cooked it all the same morning. She cooked it in the fireplace, lighting a few coals under the trivet on which she placed the pot with the pieces of rabbit, garlic and rosemary. She let the liquid cook out and occasionally drained it. When the meat began to dry nicely, she added some oil, a bit of lard with onion, a pinch of parsley and some more rosemary. All morning, it would simmer slowly on the coals, which were occasionally refreshed under the pot. I can still remember the aroma that floated in the air. When the pieces of rabbit began to brown, Grandma added a glass of good wine. When they had become beautifully golden, she added some tomato concentrate. Of course, this was before the time of canned peeled tomatoes and sauces. She let it cook slowly and the aroma intensified as a wonderfully flavorful, delicate sauce formed on the bottom of the pot, ready to top the tagliatelle. The pieces of rabbit were served as the main course. Pulled out of the sauce, they were so crisp and browned that it was like they had been roasted. I liked to eat the rabbit meat together with the tagliatelle. To this day, when we make tagliatelle with rabbit sauce at home, I still eat it with the tagliatelle.