- 3/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling on pasta
- 2 whole rabbits, each cut into 4 to 6 serving size pieces, as preferred
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup instant flour (recommended: Wondra)
- 2 cups minced onions
- 1 cup minced carrots
- 1 cup minced celery
- 1 teaspoon garlic
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with juices, crushed by hand
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 pound dried pappardelle pasta
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
In a large Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper. Dredge the rabbit pieces in the flour and shake off any excess. Add the rabbit pieces to the pan and cook until the rabbit is golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the rabbit to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium; add the remaining olive oil, onions, carrots and celery and cook until vegetables are caramelized, stirring occasionally, usually about 50 minutes. It's important to caramelize the vegetables slowly; this is the basis of the sauce. Add the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, crushed red pepper and oregano, and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Add the rabbit pieces back to the pan along with the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until rabbit is very tender, 45 to 55 minutes.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Remove and drain the pasta.
Toss pasta with a bit of olive oil and salt, to taste. In a large mixing bowl, toss the pasta with the rabbit ragout. Season with salt and mix well. Mound onto serving plates and garnish with fresh Parmesan.
Note: For an alternative presentation, if desired, once the rabbit is tender, rabbit pieces may be removed from the sauce and meat pulled from the bones and returned to the sauce.