It was a rabbit. Renato cut it into pieces for cooking in umido (stewed) and showed me the little wedge of white tissue he removed from behind each knee. He smelled it. No scent, but when cooked it would give the rabbit the ‘dirty’ flavour people didn’t like.
Next I turned to Eugenia, Renato’s wife and a good butcher in her own right, to check the recipe. The usual garlic, rosemary, white wine and tomatoes? That’s it, then add porcini, already sliced and sautéed with garlic and nepitella (calamint), at the end of the cooking to season it. She wanted me to understand that people don’t usually add porcini to rabbit these days, but they used to so it’s OK to do it. Every recipe needs authenticating by the past.
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