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Coniglio alla Contadina

(Farmer's Style Rabbit)

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 rabbit
3 tablespoons salt for cleansing (optional)
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cut the rabbit in small pieces and remove all visible fat. Place the pieces in a bowl, sprinkle with the 3 tablespoons of salt, mix well, then rinse and squeeze out the excess water. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well to coat, cover the bowl and marinate for 2 hours at room temperature.

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees, arrange the pieces in a large baking dish and bake covered with aluminum foil for 30 minutes. Uncover the baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, turn the pieces over and bake an additional 25 minutes to obtain golden coloring throughout. Serve hot.

The first summer my sons spent with my family in Italy they were nine years old. I can still remember the day Grandpa brought them to see the rabbits.

They couldn't contain their excitement, and insisted on calling home. They just HAD to tell mom and dad about their experience with the rabbits.

Apparently they were curious about what was in the big room above the barn. Grandpa told them that's where he kept the rabbits he was raising.

The first thing they said was "do you know that you have to go up a ladder to get to the bunnies?" So I wouldn't spoil their excitement, I didn't remind them that I grew up there.

"And Mommy, there are sooooooooo many rabbits up there! Grandpa feeds them grains and green stuff, you know? that grows on their land?"

Of course they had to describe all the colors, and the moms that were separated because they had to have the new babies, and they couldn't wait till they were born.... "

The best part was they asked grandpa if he'd let them have one rabbit each so they could each have their own pet. Grandpa' promptly accommodated them by letting them pick their own pet and putting them in separate cages.

Needless to say we were on the phone a very long time, but we heard about this subject whenever we were on the phone. It had now become their daily task to help feed them and bring water...

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