Pappardelle with hare, red wine & cacao regù

The trigger for this recipe is the typically northern Italian way of braising hare (lepre) in salmi. They put a hare into a wine marinade with onions, celery, juniper berries and and rosemary, to soften the flavour of the strong-tasting meat as well as tenderising it. Then the important thing is to let the hare cook very slowly. Then, they add some of the cacao into the sauce, and some over the hare at the last minute. As the cacao falls onto the hot serving plates, there’s an explosion of chocolate aroma that you breathe in before you even taste the pasta, to which the cacao adds richness rather than flavour.


  • Serves: 4 people

Ingredients for the marinade

  • 1 bottle Chianti or other full-bodied red wine
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic clove

Ingredients for the ragù

  • 1 hare, cut into 12 pieces
  • 50g plain flour
  • sea salt and freshly black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 4 juniper berries, crushed to a paste
  • 1 bottle Chianti or other full-bodied red wine
  • 1 litre good chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 10g 90–100% cacao, grated
  • 600–800g fresh pappardelle
  • a little butter


  1. Ask your butcher to cut the hare for you, following the joints and taking care not to smash the bones, in case they splinter.

  2. Put the hare into a bowl. Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and pour over the meat. Leave in the fridge for 24 hours. When you are ready to cook, remove the hare from the marinade and keep the meat to one side. Bring the marinade to the boil in a pan, then take off the heat and pass through a fine sieve into a bowl.

  3. Have the flour ready in a shallow bowl. Pat the pieces of hare dry and season them, then dust in the flour. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the hare and colour on all sides, taking care not to burn the flour, then lift out and keep to one side.

  4. Put the chopped vegetables and juniper berry paste into the pan and cook gently until soft. Pour in the Chianti and allow to bubble up to evaporate the alcohol, reduce the liquid by half.

  5. Put the hare back in the pan and add the reserved marinade and enough chicken stock to cover. Add the bay leaf and rosemary. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, stir in half the cacao and simmer for 2 hours.

  6. Take out the hare and strip the meat from the bones. Keep to one side. Reduce the cooking liquid to a sauce consistency, then return the hare meat to the pan.

  7. Cook the pappardelle in plenty of boiling salted water for 3 to 4 minutes (if using dried pasta check the timing on the packet). Drain, reserving the cooking water, and toss through the hare ragù, adding a touch of butter if you like, plus a little of the water to loosen. Finish with the rest of the grated cacao.

Thank you to Giorgio Locatelli for sharing this recipe with us. Recipe originally published in Glorious Game. Photograph © Lisa Linder.

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