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Inside Kendall

Recipe: Tradition Meets Reinvention for Cooking this Fall with Pasta Alla Chitarra and Rabbit in the Tuscan Style

For generations, food has been the center of many family and community celebrations.  Often, traditions are passed down through families and the resulting recipes come to represent both heritage and history.

The Culinary Arts Program at Kendall College teaches a number of global cuisines and these courses aim at exploring not only what ingredients have become the signature flavors of regional dishes, but also how students can reinvent foods while still honoring the unique history of specific cuisines.  For anyone interested in trying his or her hand at recreating a traditional dish, taking a regionally-inspired recipe and looking for ways to alter or add a special touch is recommended.

The recipe below is a great example of Tuscan-style cuisine with regionally-specific details that can teach you about this region’s unique flavor… or can offer easy areas for personalization.  For example, you can choose to stay true to the recipe, or you can easily replace the protein with an option more common in your own culture or something that fits a personal preference.  You can also explore the recommended homemade past recipe that is so authentic in its preparation, or select to use something bought from the store or something a little surprising based on your own experience with food.

At Kendall, our students are encouraged to master the technical skills needed to prepare and create food, but to never forget that, even by name, the culinary arts are equally dependent on creativity and artistic interpretation.

Please let us know how your version of Pasta Alla Chitarra and Rabbit in the Tuscan Style turns out!


This recipe consists of a delicious, rustic rabbit sauce combined with a Southern-Italian pasta called Alla Chitarra, or pasta cut “on a guitar.” The sauce has the addition of minced liver, which adds an intense depth of flavor. Cutting the pasta on the chitarra, or wire strings attached to a wooden frame, brings in that hand-cut texture and flavor which the Italians cherish.


  • 1 rabbit (with liver)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. pancetta, finely minced
  • 3 cups carrot, finely minced
  • 3 cups red onion, finely minced
  • 3 cups celery, finely minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh sage, minced
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed
  • 1 recipe Pasta  Alla Chitarra or 1 lb. fresh fettuccine
  • parmigiano-reggiano shavings, for garnish


  • Cut rabbit into 6 pieces (4 legs and loin cut in half), leaving it on the bone
  • Heat oil in large heavy saucepan. Add rabbit; sauté over medium heat until lightly browned on both sides, about 15 minutes.
  • Add pancetta, carrot, onion, celery, garlic, rosemary and sage. Continue to sauté on medium until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Stir in wine; cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stock; stir well.
  • Bring mixture to a simmer, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until rabbit is tender.
  • Remove rabbit piece, taking the meat off bone in large pieces. Be sure to check several times to ensure all bones have been removed.
  • Reduce sauce until it has thickened. Mince the liver very finely and stir into sauce. Cook for 5 minutes and adjust salt level. Stir reserved rabbit pieces into sauce.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water. Drain and toss with sauce. Garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings.



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt


  • Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until dough comes together in large crumbs. If crumbs are small and dry, add a little water. If dough comes together into a wet ball, add a little more flour.
  • Remove dough; knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  • Wrap dough well and let rest for at least 20 minutes before rolling
  • To roll the dough, cut into 4 pieces. Work with 1 piece at a time while keeping the other pieces well wrapped.
  • Set rollers of the pasta machine on the widest notch. Flatten the piece of dough and pass it through the rollers. Fold the dough in thirds; press it flat, dust it with flour and send it through the machine again. Repeat this process 5 times.
  • Move the setting of the pasta machine to the next notch. Do not fold the dough; simply roll it through. Continue to roll the pasta through, moving to the next notch on the machine each time. Occasionally dust the pasta with flour. Take the pasta through the third -to -last notch (number 7), then stop.
  • Cut with the chitarra pasta cutter on the widest side.

RyanChef Peggy Ryan is a chef instructor, lecturer in the culinary arts program at Kendall College and previous owner of a successful restaurant. She brings a unique and well-rounded perspective to her teaching. While she has held executive positions at area American and French restaurants, Chef Ryan’s primary focus is the cuisine of Italy. For many years she was the chef/owner of the three-star Italian restaurant, Va Pensiero, which received many outstanding reviews from Zagat (national and regional issues) and Chicago’s major newspapers.

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