Rabbit Canelloni

This sensational Tuscan style recipe from Duncan Welgemoed bakes pasta tubes filled with flavoursome rabbit in a creamy sauce with cheese
Rabbit Canelloni
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the stuffing

  • 8 wild rabbit legs
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 500 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 500 ml white wine
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 100 g tomatoes, seeds removed, skinned and cut into 3mm dice

For the b├ęchamel sauce

  • 425 ml milk
  • few stalks parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 blade mace, or pinch ground mace (optional)
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 slice onion, 5mm thick
  • 40 g butter
  • 20 g plain flour
  • 12 lasagne sheets, cooked to al dente
  • 100 g parmesan, freshly grated
  • 100 g pecorino cheese, freshly grated


1. To make the stuffing: put all the ingredients except the parsley and tomatoes into a large deep pan. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 3 hours or until the rabbit is soft.

2. Take the rabbit meat off the bones and discard the bones. Return the meat to the ingredients in the pan, season with salt and pepper and drain off any excess liquid. Stir in the parsley and diced tomatoes.

3. To make the sauce: place the milk, parsley stalks, bay leaf, mace (if using), peppercorns and onion in a small pan and heat very slowly for about 5 minutes until simmering. Strain into a jug and discard the flavourings.

4. Melt the butter gently in the pan; don't overheat or let it brown, as this will affect the colour and flavour of the sauce. As soon as the butter melts, add the flour and over a medium heat and using a small pointed wooden spoon, stir quite vigorously to make a smooth, glossy paste.

5. Add the infused milk a little at a time and stir vigorously again until incorporated. Add a little more milk and continue incorporating the milk in this way before you add more. When about half the milk is in, switch to a balloon whisk and start adding large amounts of milk, but always whisking briskly. Your reward will be a smooth, glossy, creamy sauce.

6. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and let the sauce cook for 5 minutes, whisking from time to time. Taste and season with salt and freshly milled black pepper. If you wish to keep the sauce warm, pour it into a warmed jug and cover the surface with cling film to stop a skin from forming, then place the jug in a pan of barely simmering water.

7. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

8. Grease a large baking dish.

9. Lay the pasta sheets out flat. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons stuffing onto each sheet and roll up like a swiss roll. Place the cannelloni into a large greased baking dish and cover with the b├ęchamel sauce. Sprinkle with both cheeses and bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown.

10. Serve with a green salad.

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