Our dear friend Rohan Anderson of Whole Larder Love made this delicious rabbit ravioli recipe using some of our avos and we decided it was too delicious not to share!
If you have a keen eye, you’ll see the rabbits getting all frisky at the end of winter. They bounce around one another in a flirtatious frenzied ritual. They spring and fly into the air with acrobatic fervour. Sometimes they chase one another from one side of their patch to the other. I could sit and watch them for ages, but more often than not I have something more pressing to do with my time. The result of this annual mating display is obvious; many baby rabbits.
Unending baby rabbits in fact. The cycle is as predictable as the mad north winds of spring. Without fail, the new generation rabbits rise out of their labyrinth of warrens into the world of grassy fields. This generation is weird, they communicate mostly by social media and prefer text to conversation, and seem to take way more selfies than the previous generation.
I cannot deny that there is some element of cuteness to this new batch of rabbits, but the underlying fact is that the species is introduced to Australia, it’s a feral pest species. They cause a lot of damage to crops and the warrens wreak havoc with the erodible Australian soils. When I decided to stop buying supermarket chicken because I’d discovered how said birds where raised, I turned to hunting rabbits as an alternative white meat, and I’ve been hunting them ever since. You’d think I’d have tired of them by now, but it’s the opposite. They’re still very much a joy to hunt, a joy to cook, and a pleasure to eat.
When I was a full blooded bogan I used to visit a Italian style pasta chain restaurant that’s relatively famous in Australia. I often ordered a pasta that had chicken and avocado creamy sauce. It was delicious, but I’m pretty sure the ingredients wouldn’t fit my current view of the world. I’m not sure anything is organic, local or ethically raised. I haven’t eaten there for well over a decade.
With the old favourite meal in mind I came up with the idea for this dinner. What better than combining in season avocados from the guys up at Barham and the tender meat of young new season rabbits. Seems like an interesting twist on the old meal I once ordered with my blind robotic eyes, with a new approach influenced by the new version of Rohan.
I use baby rabbits because the meat is the best quailty, it’s tender and delicious. And before you get on your high horse about me eating baby rabbits, please remember these guys grow up to be adult rabbits. And just like humans, the adults are the ones that do all the environmental damage.
Now I know we have serious issues in the world. Issues that have split the community in two. This dish represents one of those major issues. Apparently it’s very wrong (culinary speaking) for me to have avocados in a hot dish. Seems ok to me, but apparently it’s a big no no. The kids and I didn’t seem to be that concerned as we devoured the meal for dinner. If my kids eat it, I’m happy. If it’s works for you in life, just do it. No one is your boss but yourself. Well that’s how I live anyway.
With everything I cook I make an effort to source good local stuff. If I can’t make it myself, I look for the local option. To be honest, it doesn’t take much effort. Well I don’t think it does. It’s easy to say I’m too time poor. I believe that’s a state of mind. You’re only as busy as you allow yourself to be.
What I used:
- 2 x wild baby spring rabbits
- 2 x Barham Avocados avos
- Full milk cream (I use inglenook dairy)
- Pecorino (Australian made is really good)
- 300gm fresh ricotta
- Handful of soft spring thyme from the garden
- 300gm plain organic flour
- 4 large eggs from the backyard chooks
- chilli powder (I blitz my dried backyard chills to make the powder)
- 2 x lemons from mums lemon tree
- Murray River Salt
- Foraged Mountain Pepper Berry
What I do:
First step is to shoot the bunnies. They are a bit smaller in size, so you have to have your .22 accurately sighted in, and take your time with the shoot. A head shot is what you want.
After they’re skinned and gutted, I wash them, then poach them very gently for about two hours until the meat starts to fall off the frame.
Process the meat from the bones, allow to cool then pop into a tub and straight to the fridge. I did the poaching and processing the day before, I did have intentions of cooking this meal the day prior but got distracted with a broken chainsaw.
Blitz the cooked rabbit meat in the food processor, then pop it in a large mixing bowl, then add the ricotta, about half a cup of grated pecorrino and the leaves from the very soft fresh thyme. Mix well. This is the stuffing for the ravioli, so don’t eat too much of it when you mix it.
To make the pasta I mix 3 large eggs (leave one egg aside) with 300gm plain flour in a large mixing bowl. I know I probably should be using ’00’ Farina flour but the organic plain flour from the grocery store is fine enough to make pasta with, and it’s Australian made.
Using an expensive kitchen mixing device (my hands) I mix and twirl the egg around in the flour with clean fingers, mixing and mulching until a dough has formed. I treat the dough like a stress ball, squishing it and further mixing the two ingredients until it’s silky smooth. The trick I use when making pasta is to rip the dough in half and stick it back together, if it holds together it’s done. I then wrap it in cling film and rest it for an hour.
I use a hand crank pasta maker. Read the instructions of your pasta maker to make massive strips of flat pasta.
Beat the remaining egg in a bowl and grab a small pastry brush.
Then start filling the pasta with the stuffing. Form a little amount of the filling onto one side of the pasta that sits flat on the table. You just make this stuff up, there are no rules here. The general idea is that you pop the filling on the pasta, use the brush with the egg wash on the pasta which will help seal the pasta as you fold it over the filling. Push out any air captured in the pocket of filling, then use a pasta cutter to cut out the pretty little gems.
Pop a saucepan of salted water on the stove. While that’s heating up, cut out 1.5 of the avocados, and mash with a spoon in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze in the juice of a lemon, add a teaspoon of chilli powder, and a generous dollop of cream. For extra love grate in half a cup of the pecorino.
Cook the ravioli until al dente, remove from the hot water with a hand strainer and pop straight in to the mixing bowl with the mashed avocado. Toss and flip the ravioli and cover it with the creamy mashed avocado sauce.
Slide the ravioli onto a pretty plate. Drizzle over the best olive oil you have in the house. Squeeze over some lemon juice, crack some salt and wild pepper berry. Add a sprinkle of that beautiful red chilli powder a sprig of fresh thyme. And finally, to remind you that it’s ok to have avocado in pasta, slice out the last of the remaining avocado to sit proudly on top.