Tuscan Rabbit with Olives, Coniglio alla Cacciatora Recipe from Cook Italy, Home Tested

I am not sure that Cook Italy (Kyle Books) by Katie Caldesi got all the attention it deserved in the US when it was published in 2010.

Since some regions of Italy are known for their rabbit dishes and to continue my Year of the Rabbit theme, here's another chance to discover Cook Italy with this Coniglio alla Cacciatora Recipe, Tuscan Rabbit with Olives.

I home tested it with a tweak, I used Boneless Rabbit Loin courtesy of D'Artagnan instead of Rabbit Pieces.

Coniglio Alla Cacciatora, Tuscan Rabbit with Olives Recipe:

This recipe belongs to our restaurant manager’s mother, Nicoletta Salvato. During one of our “Italian Mamas” weeks, she came over from Tuscany to teach us some of her son Marco’s favorite recipes—and this was one of them. It is typically Tuscan: a rich and full-flavored dish made out of something inexpensive. Note that larger wild rabbits will take longer to cook than small farmed ones, so adjust cooking times accordingly.

Serves 6 Ingredients: 21/2 lb rabbit, jointed into 8

salt and freshly ground black pepper

flour, for coating

3/4 cup olive oil

4 tablespoons butter or lardo,

cut into 1 in pieces

2 red onions, finely chopped

5 garlic cloves, lightly crushed

3 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped

2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves stripped

2⁄3 cup red wine

1 x 28 oz can Italian plum tomatoes, crushed with your hands

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water

1/2 cup black olives


Season the rabbit pieces generously all over with salt and pepper, then coat them with flour, shaking off the excess. (The easiest way to do this is to put the rabbit and flour in a plastic bag and shake it.) Heat the oil and butter in the biggest frying pan you have (or use two). Cook the rabbit on all sides for about 10 minutes until well browned and crispy. Be patient—don’t turn them more than once. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme or rosemary to the pan and cook until soft.

Pour in the wine, reduce for a few minutes until it separates from the oil, then add the tomatoes and stock or water. Bring to a boil, then let it simmer for 30 minutes. Add the black olives and cook for another 40 minutes or until the meat falls easily from the bones. Adjust the seasoning as necessary and serve on soft polenta.


Since I used rabbit loin, I cut cooking times by between a third to a half and did not bring it to a boil, trusting my eyes, so it would not be tough. If you go the loin route, I suggest you monitor your dish carefully. Each pot is a bit different.

I kept Cook Italy's photo of the dish by Lisa Linder as an illustration. Those I took while cooking pale in comparison.

Read Cook Italy, Italy in 400 Recipes, Sausage Making to Bread Kneaking my June 2010 interview with Katie Caldesi.

Thanks to D'Artagnan for making this Year of the Rabbit experiment possible.

(* Recipe and Photography copyright Kyle Books 2010, used by permission of the publisher)

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