The rabbit is a mammal belonging to the leporidae family, quite similar to the hare, but smaller in size (rarely exceeding 50 cm in length). This rodent lives in the wild; in Italy the most common is the domestic one and today many are bred.
The rabbit is slaughtered between 2 and 6 months and, in this period of its life, the meat is pink, tender, fine-grained, with a delicate flavour and free of fats.
The young rabbit is also recognized by its short teeth, its flexible front legs with large joints, its light-colored and uniform liver and its back muscles protruding from the spine. Its weight is between 1,200 and 1,500 kg.
The rabbits that are found on the market are largely of Italian origin, coming from excellent farms present in many regions (especially in Veneto, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Marche). Today rabbit meat is highly requested, more than in the past, with a decline only during the summer months; it is often preferred to veal, which is more expensive, and to chicken, which instead is considered less healthy.
The rabbit is sold whole (the ideal weight is between 1.5 kg and 1.7 kg) or portioned: the most worn cuts are the saddle, corresponding to the animal's back, shoulders and thighs. The saddle is excellent roasted or made into small steaks, also suitable for children. The shoulders and thighs of the rabbit are stewed while the loins are roasted or fried. Rabbit meat is also good boiled (although it is an uncommon preparation) or cooked in the ragù, even though it generally requires a long cooking (at least 1 hour).
For a quicker recipe, you can cut it into small pieces, marinate it with oil, salt, pepper and julienne peppers for half a day and then cook it in a pan for 30- 40 minutes. The meat lends itself to many other preparations; from the simplest (steam cooking) to salmì, but it can be also cooked in porchetta and stuffed.