100 g (3 1⁄2 oz) slices of rigatino or pancetta, cut into thin strips
1 × 2.25 – 2.75-kg (5 – 6-lb) skinned and cleaned rabbit, liver reserved
1 kg (2 1⁄4 lb) Pippin or other sharp apples
1 litre (4 1⁄2 cups) dry white wine
150 ml (2/3 cup) Vin Santo wine
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
50 g (4 tablespoons) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, very finely chopped
salt and pepper
Using a larding needle, thread strips of rigatino or pancetta through the rabbit. Season the cavity with salt and pepper.
Peel, core and chop enough apples to fill the cavity (the quantity will depend on the size of the rabbit) and then sew up the opening with trussing thread or kitchen string.
Pour the white wine and half the Vin Santo into a shallow dish, add the fennel seeds and put the rabbit on top. Cover and let marinate for at least 2 hours.
Melt half the butter with the oil in a large, shallow pan. Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened.
Meanwhile, remove the rabbit from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Add the rabbit to the pan, increase the heat to medium and cook, turning frequently, for 5 – 8 minutes, until evenly browned.
Pour in half the marinade and cook until the alcohol has evaporated. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, core and slice the remaining apples. Add them to the pan and, if necessary, add the remaining marinade.
Re-cover the pan and simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the meat is cooked and tender.
30 minutes + 2 hours for marinating
Cooking time: 45 minutes