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Rabbit Head Pasta (page 2 of 2)

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Traditional pasta sauce, much loved in some parts of Italy. Don't do this at home. Only a head case would eat it.
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Don't get ahead of yourself - allow the onion to sweat a little...

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... then the carrot and celery.

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Continue to sauté for 7-10 minutes.

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The rabbit livers will indeed add to the taste of our sauce, but I won't put my head on the block that your friends will like it. Clean the livers with great care to eliminate any trace of the greenish and extra bitter rabbit bile.

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Add the livers and sauté until white.

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Remove the livers and chop and crush them to obtain the tiniest bits possible. Very few people like liver bits floating in their rabbit head pasta.

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Let some heads roll back into the pot.

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Deglaze with a glass of wine...

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.. then bring to a boil.

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Add the tomatoes ...

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... and don't look into the pot or you'll be spooked.

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A few herbs can be added now - rosemary, thyme and bay leaves ...

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... as well as cinnamon or juniper berries. Cover and simmer for an hour.

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Now for that gruesome moment.Fish the heads out and start scraping the flesh off.

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The neck and cheeks are especially fleshy.

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Whether you eat the brains or head out for the vomitorium is a matter of indifference.

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Return the scraped flesh into the pot.

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Fill a pot of water, add salt and bring to the boil. Cook your pasta but keep it al dente - slightly undercooked.

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drop the pasta into the sauce and mix.

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I wanted to see how slow can slow food get and ventured a bit too far. Having prepared the dish, I couldn't eat this. No harm done, the rabbit heads were on their way to the butcher's bin anyway. If you serve this to your guests, you really can't give them the recipe should they ask for it. If you do, they'll think you ought to have your head examined and they, their stomachs. They will recount this meal as «When the dish arrived on the table, I thought it was shit. When the meal was over, I regretted it wasn't.»

Published 23/03/2008
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External Comments

«For a country that wraps scraps and blood in pig and sheep guts, it<br />seems weird to me that so many are turned off by the parts that are the<br />farthest from the ass.» Reddit 01/03/2009

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If you do this recipe at home please let me know how it worked for you by submitting a comment or send me a picture if you can. Thanks!



73 Comments

  • #1
  • Comment by Aaron
  • on: 22/03/2008
Thank you for taking the time to prepare this.  I don't think I would eat it, either, but it's fascinating to see how disused peasant dishes are made.  Thank you for sticking your neck out for us!
OKI draw the lineit's over between us...YOWZA !
  • #3
  • Comment by Peter
  • on: 22/03/2008
FX, these kinds of dishes are the tastiest. You're brave for making it, the least I can do is to offer to eat it!
  • #4
  • Comment by Sherri
  • on: 22/03/2008
Your dark humor kept me giggling despite that photo of the head with the tomatoes.
You have a real head for bad puns! :D
  • #6
  • Comment by Luke
  • on: 22/03/2008
I don't see what's so bad about this dish. In theory, it seems pretty good actually, and I'd definitely have the gall to try it.There are plenty of great dishes that make use of heads. There's mayeritsa is Greece, barbacoa in northern Mexico and the US Southeast, the ever-classic roasted head of boar...I mean, it looks gross, to be sure, but the head has some pretty decent quality meat.
Maybe it's the nature of my profession or that I was already hungry before I found your website, I don't know. A pity that it got binned!That was an interesting recipe - I wouldn't mind trying it out. Or sampling the dish, for that matter! :) I'm not sure I can find rabbits heads sold here in Berkshire, UK though!This is an amazing website - love the pictures, the exotic recipes and the writing! I'm bookmarking, if you don't mind!
  • #8
  • Comment by Hirm
  • on: 22/03/2008
Hello,Thanks for the very fascinating article with the fascinating pictures (wow...rabit cheeks have really developed muscles as I have been imagining).  I know excactly where to go to get rabit heads in my neiborhood, though, I don't think I'll try.  I agree with you, this is not for girls.
  • #9
  • Comment by Allen
  • on: 22/03/2008
Oh my, god -- thank you for making this dish so I won't have too :-)  I grew up on a farm so I appreciate that all parts of the animal can be made useful.  I would gladly eat this dish if I didn't have to cook it being cooked.  The thick pasta looks fantastic, by the way.  Cheers!
  • #10
  • Comment by Alys
  • on: 22/03/2008
Thank you for the recipe. This is good farm food - and a reminder that we should not waste!You said: "This one is not for the ladies."In a big farm family, perhaps men do the heavy slaughter (beef, pork, sheep, etc.) and the women do the lighter end (chickens, rabbits, ducks, etc.). In small families, everyone takes part. And who do you think would be the ones doing most of this cooking traditionally? Perhaps it is not for the urban folks ... or those who think their meat comes in little plastic trays.
  • #11
  • Comment by Donald
  • on: 22/03/2008
Um...um...be right BACK!!!!I'm fine.Wow Francois! C'mon now. You ate that pasta didn't you?
  • #12
  • Comment by SeanJA
  • on: 23/03/2008
Now that is a lot of bad puns... Pretty grewsome dish too, looks like something my dad might try to get me to eat...
  • #13
  • Comment by Beatrice
  • on: 23/03/2008
Well, I use rabbit heads in my soup stock always, as no Alsatian butcher would think of decapitating one he was selling.  But what did you do with all those EYES?
  • #14
  • Comment by Luci
  • on: 23/03/2008
Hi Francois,Although fascinating, I don't blame you for not eating this - the final plate looks delicious, but knowing what came before, I would be reluctant as well!Luci
  • #15
  • Comment by louise
  • on: 23/03/2008
Argh, SO MANY PUNS - ouch. Your English is far too perfect for my poor joke-processing-cerebral-cortex ;)Did you not even taste the dish? In the last picture it looks good, if you discount what went before it...
  • #16
  • Comment by art cox
  • on: 23/03/2008
Thank you. That brought a tear to my eye. Wonderful respect for the normally wasted bits...
  • #17
  • Comment by Ariun
  • on: 23/03/2008
Punniest thing i've read today! How could you not try the dish, at least to see if it's tasty or not? Now the world will never know...
  • #18
  • Comment by Lambzilla
  • on: 24/03/2008
Francois...I procured a roasted pig head (how/why is not important) and made barbecue. It was a grim chore in preparation but the sauce was my own and the meat was good. I was just curious at what point in your preparation did you loose your appetite? As an avid reader of your excellent blog I know you've eaten pressed duck, pig trotters, gave us a scintilating description of the Jesus sausage casing, even tried the Scottish dishes...How could you tantalize us with this wonderful rustic dish and not taste one bite? PS: this is the best food blog on the net.
  • #19
  • Comment by mtX
  • on: 24/03/2008
I would try this recipe head-on! :) Actually, I just had some lamb head yesterday - we use the head for a traditional easter soup, and you can eat some meat and the brains - yummy stuff. Ah, and the eyes too...
  • #20
  • Comment by cookery
  • on: 24/03/2008
That's not the way to get ahead in life
  • #21
  • Comment by Lama
  • on: 24/03/2008
There is restaurants in China serving rabbit heads, I am sure it tastes good I won't dare to try.
  • #22
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Aaron you know I would do anything for my readers!
  • #23
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Claudia I hope you'll forgive me this most vegetarianally incorrect recipe!
  • #24
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Peter I'll be sure to save you a head!
  • #25
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Sherri indeed these were gruesome pictures, but don't let this detract you from exploring the rest of the blog with much more palatable recipes!
  • #26
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Dave I'll hone my puns for the next article!
  • #27
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Luke, at the end of the day the problem is that the concept of the dish is better than actually making it.
  • #28
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Thushara thanks for visiting and good luck for your headhunting in Berkshire!
  • #29
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Hirm maybe if you don't tell the girl how you made this they won't mind!
  • #30
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Allen the pasta was actually bought, a great 'slow-food' pasta from our beloved Swiss grocery stores COOP. Thanks for humoring me on this one!
  • #31
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Alys, a friend's grandmother used to kill chicken by cutting their head with a pair of scissors, so I guess it is our contemporary urban ladies who became very sensitive rather than some hard-wired feminine aversion to blood. And how about Salome, who cooked Preacher's Head Pasta with John the Baptist' head?
  • #32
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Donald, I'm afraid I didn't feel very hungry then. But I swear I'll save you a head next time!
  • #33
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Sean don't do this at home or your Dad and you will go head to head!
  • #34
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Beatrice I'm afraid they kept their eyes at the butcher's, maybe the owner is fond of them. I can't say I missed them!
  • #35
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Louise I'm sure I'd have eaten all of it had I not cooked it!
  • #36
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Arthur I think next time I'll leave the rabbit heads at the butcher's!
  • #37
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Ariun, I tasted a couple macaronis but had to stop due to instant appetite loss syndrome, the first time ever it happens to me!
  • #38
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Lambzilla, the decisive moment was when I noticed there was more fur left on the rabbits' heads than I could hope to remove. A great source of dietary fiber, I'm told. Thanks for visiting anyway!
  • #39
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Lamb head might be a future addition to those foods I'd cook but not eat!
  • #40
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Lama, the Chinese are truly democratic in their food pursuit and never embarrassed to eat those parts we discard. I'd love to get pictures of these in China though!
  • #41
  • Comment by Cristina
  • on: 25/03/2008
Your site is wonderful and delicious.Can you show us how to make a authentic italian bread?
  • #42
  • Comment by Luciano
  • on: 25/03/2008
Great (?!) and original recipe, as always here from you.Sure, to see the poor rabbitts' heads could make some sense, but here in Italy, because we come from a poor tradition, we had to learn and use every part of the animals.Brains from sheep and calves, great dish for the easter time ( many many years ago I grew up eating that dish, boiled or fried, some everyday ) pajata (guts ) with rigatoni, bull's testicles grilled, pork's ears and nose, and so on amenities.Regard the slow cooking, just two days ago I made a dish, south-italian traditional so very good but so really quick.I'll send the short recipe to you by mail just to try in your kitchen, in italian, too hard for me to translate into englishKeep on showing us a lot of new great recipes; thanks
  • #43
  • Comment by parshu.narayanan
  • on: 26/03/2008
Unfortunately it signals the end of my fantasy where  a Monica Belluci lookalike Italian lady  will ask me if I would like a little head.:-)
  • #44
  • Comment by Susie
  • on: 27/03/2008
The Italians seem very partial to eating heads. Years ago when I had an Italian husband we visited his aunt near Verona. She had cooked chicken, and told me I was destined to have "the best bit". I braced myself for the parson's nose, but it was worse than that: the head, complete with beak, eyes, comb, tongue. I think that's when I first began to consider becoming a vegetarian. Having followed your preparation of the above dish, I'm so glad that I did. And who knows, Francois, maybe this experience will put you on the road to Damascus! :-)  
  • #45
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 27/03/2008
Cristina thanks for visiting and I'll look into Italian breadmaking for you!
  • #46
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 27/03/2008
Thanks a lot for the visit Luciano and I have received your recipe and will try to locate the cheese!
  • #47
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 27/03/2008
Parshu, if that's your fantasy you need to check the movie called Doberman by Jan Kounen with Monica Belluci and Tcheky Karyo, who stars in the 'La Femme Nikita' clip on my Train Bleu article.
  • #48
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 27/03/2008
Susie, this is a most memorable meal you mention. Reminds me of the final dinner scene in James Bond 'Octopussy' where the Sikh henchman eats the sheeps eyes. I think what happened to you when you were offered the chicken head is a brilliant illustration of many peoples' worst nightmare when invited to eat out with the locals! Myself I am a former vegatarian but fully reformed and 3543 days vegetable-sober now.
  • #49
  • Comment by Fooman
  • on: 17/04/2008
Dude. Growing up in a chinese familiy I have eaten some pretty gnarly stuff. I must say this recipe was defenately at the head of the list of crazy foods. I bet if you substituted pulled rabbit meat it would would make a good dinner. I like your site and will continue to check out your offerings.
  • #50
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 17/04/2008
Fooman, thanks for visiting, I'm sure the Chinese have much wilder versions of the dreaded Rabbit Head Pasta!
  • #51
  • Comment by AlexFalk
  • on: 25/04/2008
I stumbled upon your site while looking at reviews for "the Silver Spoon" and immediately poured over every article.
I have tried Balut, and the bunny heads look delicious in comparison, I do not think I would have any problem eating this, and even preparing it.
I do not think that I would have an easy time finding the heads though, however I live in a city with a very large Asian population, and is one of the most diverse cities in the US (Sacramento Ca.) so there may be hope.
  • #52
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 26/04/2008
AlexFalk, thanks for your comment! I think you could find heads if you can buy whole rabbits, the butcher will probably give you the heads for free. Don't you have California bunnies?
  • #53
  • Comment by shizzo
  • on: 27/04/2008
My in-laws are from Italy and make rabbit a lot.  The grandmother always cooks the head and innards with the rabbit pieces (usually braised).  A few people go after the brains and heart intentionally.  I've grabbed the head a couple of times by accident.  I'm not much of an organ eater, but I have pulled the meat off the head instead of tossing it back in the bowl and it tasted fine.  The sauce this was cooked in looks tasty.  I'm surprised you wouldn't give it a try.
  • #54
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 28/04/2008
Shizzo, thanks for your visit! If you like braised regular rabbit, have a look at my Swiss Alpine Rabbit. Personally I really am not very fond of offal and rabbit heads, and the wee bit of hair on the chin of a couple rabbits just put me off. But had you not seen the preceding 40 pictures, you would certainly find this a really good sauce!
  • #55
  • Comment by AlexFalk
  • on: 28/04/2008
I went to the closest Italian grocery store and had a chat with one of the butchers. They only deal with frozen bunnies.  I could shoot my own at my parents house, but I think using a whole rabbit (sans head) would yield similar results.
I shall not give up my quest for fresh bunny noggins though.
  • #56
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 29/04/2008
Alex, I think you'd get fair results with your neighbors' cat, unfrozen. But don't lose your head over this, the Alpine Rabbit Stew is a better recipe and can be prepared with the whole rabbit!
  • #57
  • Comment by Petr
  • on: 06/05/2008
Hello, i use normally rabbit heads to make a soup. It makes a tasty and strong bouillon. In Czech Republic it is quite normal (you can buy rabbit heads even in Tesco). I use meat from the neck and cheeks, it is the most tasty. I don't use the tongues and brains, it has no special taste and the texture of the brain is not nice.(Did you use those in your recipe?) So there is not much flesh anyway...
..But another thing is pig's brain..it is delicious
  • #58
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 06/05/2008
Petr, thanks for your visit and insight into Czech cooking. I think the rabbit cheeks and necks are all most people would need. Would you know of a source for authentic, detailed, traditional Czech recipes?
  • #59
  • Comment by ND
  • on: 27/05/2008
Oh my soul, I thought I was the only person on earth who actually watched "Dobermann"… I'm sure Yann le Panterac (correct spelling, I hope) would've been brave enough to eat this pasta! He might even have hunted the little fellows down with his .357…
  • #60
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 04/06/2008
Nathan, I think there are a few other characters in Le Dob who would enjoy this dish, not least of all Sauveur Cristini.
  • #61
  • Comment by Tobasco44
  • on: 06/07/2008
Wow. I always wondered why the French sold the skinned head of a rabbit in their markets. Not much meat though.
  • #62
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 06/07/2008
Tobasco, the rabbit heads sometimes have another function, that of establishing that it is not a cat but a rabbit.
  • #63
  • Comment by carmen
  • on: 14/07/2008
All I can say is you are VERY BRAVE to even attempt this dish. How did it taste? like chicken! ja ja ja!
  • #64
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 17/07/2008
Carmen, it tastes like rabbit as far as I remember, but really I would not cook it again!
  • #65
  • Comment by Ieva
  • on: 21/11/2008
Well it all depends on "do you feel sorry for this poor rabbit" or it just piece of meat. In Latvia it is normal to eat pig's heads on Christmas (it is jellied meat), also from fish heads is made consommé. It’s the same thing as tongues, hearts and brains of animal – some cultures approve them for cuisine, some strictly forbid to eat certain parts of bodies. What so ever it isn’t the nastier dish you could have for diner ;)
  • FX's answer→ Leva, do you have the name of Latvian pig head jelly and for fish head consommé? This looks really intriguing!

  • #67
  • Comment by ieva
  • on: 22/11/2008
Well – there is no special name for fish consommé, I could tell you what my sister done with salmon yesterday :D – take whole salmon (without guts) and take of tale, head (from head take out gills – they are bitter and uneatable) all fishbone – make usual fish fillet. All bones, head and tale boil in water with herbs (the mane for fish – fresh dill, onions, bay-leaf, salt and pepper). When it looks like normal consommé – filtrate it – and rip flesh from bones – there will be enough meat. Than add potatoes and carrot – boil until they almost dissolve in soup, serve with sour cream and fresh dill – this I had for dinner :D.  What to do with filet – elementary – take for one spoon salt, one spoon sugar and almost the same amount of pepper – strew it on salmon (raw with skin on it still), and put it in box, put some plate with weight on it and leave it in fridge for some time (1-2h) – till you can sea some juice comes out. So now your salted salmon is ready for serving – I usually enjoy it on the white bred, with butter, a bit of lemon and little bit of fresh onion (sound like tartar sandwiches – this is common delicacy for Latvian, my grandma in the same whey eats fresh herring – I don’t do this, it’s  bit to much fish bones there). This is normal meal for my family and you can use salmon completely, except gills and guts.

I found this page while looking for Moroccan meals, I am not a professional cook – actually I am clerk :D, but I  found that you enjoy in the same way as I do traditional cousin’s, and I could share some “absolutely mad” meals also. This page is absolutely fabulous!!!

About pigs head – it had only Latvian name, I could look for some pictures – but it looks like it looks – pigs head on plate, boiled with salt and pepper, it is served with gray peas. I don’t enjoy it – it looks too odd for me.

But the bigger part in our traditional food takes milk and it products, but we don’t have cheeses (only raw cheeses from curd) – partly because of our climate, but curd is made in one hundred ways, and the most delicious are pies and puddings.
  • FX's answer→ Ieva, thanks a lot for this information, I wish I can visit Latvia some day to see this first hand. Good luck with the cooking!

  • #69
  • Comment by gitto
  • on: 24/05/2009
Will you marry me? Please?
  • #70
  • Comment by Alexis
  • on: 26/09/2010
pity that you didnt try it at the end i love rabbit heads the best part of a rabbit in my opinion
if you ever come to greece i will show you how it is eaten
  • #71
  • Comment by RNRQ
  • on: 25/01/2011
I know this comes late, but this is for AlexFalkon: There are many rabbit raisers within reasonable distance of Sacramento, CA--and we're usually happy to sell you a whole rabbit dressed to your specifications (although we don't do tuxedos, the rental fees are heck!LOL).

The only turn-off for me on this recipe is the brain thing, but splitting the heads is not difficult and the brain and eyes could certainly give the family dog or cat a nice treat. :)

I think one day soon I will try this recipe with ribcage sections--they are difficult to cook well for things other than soups, but this would be quite suitable.

Thank you!
PA
  • #72
  • Comment by Diana
  • on: 13/02/2011
This was a wonderful reading and I will try this reciepe with some modifications. I do have several rabbit heads in my freezer. I wanted to try them a long time ago, but so far have not got that far, just yet anyway. I have cookend rabbit heads before to get the tongue´s out. It is amazying to make tounge terrine out of them. Can I use your reciepe in my webpage along with photos? Offcourse credit will go to you!
Diana
  • #73
  • Comment by nameBELZA
  • on: 04/08/2011
I have been trying to find a recipe for rabbit head rillettes which I bought in France and enjoyed for lunch with crusty french bread. A combiation of this recipe -vegs + advice on how to take a head apart on another web site might be the answer. I'll let you know. As you can tell I am not squeamish, and can remember when a child  my auntie making rabbit stew, the head was a special treat for my uncle.

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