Pappardelle With Long-Cooked Rabbit Sugo

READY IN: 2hrs 45mins




  • Trim the rabbit pieces of any fat, rinse them well, and pat dry.
  • Using the food processor, mince the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and basil for 15-20 seconds, to a paste (this is pestata).
  • Season the rabbit pieces all over with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Pour the olive oil into the saucepan, and set over medium heat.
  • Lay all the meat in the pan, and let the pieces caramelize gradually, turning them every couple of minutes, until lightly browned on all sides, 6-8 minutes.
  • Scrape in the pestata, and stir it around the pan, tumbling the rabbit pieces over to coat them with the paste.
  • Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and keep stirring, scraping up the browned bits on the pan bottom and sides, as the pestata steams and sizzles.
  • When the pestata is dry and starting to stick to the pan, pour in 2 cups or so of hot stock, almost to cover the meat.
  • Sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • Bring the liquid to a boil, adjust the heat to keep it perking gently, and cook partially covered, occasionally turning the rabbit pieces and stirring up the seasonings.
  • As the liquid reduces, stir in another cup of hot stock every 20 minutes or so.
  • Cook 1 1/2 hours or more, until the rabbit meat is quite tender; then turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let the sugo cool completely.
  • Remove the rabbit pieces from the braising juices, and pull all the meat off the bones.
  • Discard the bones and cartilage; shred the meat in bite-sized morsels, and stir it back in the juices.
  • Add more stock so the sauce has a flowing consistency, heat to a simmer, and cook for another 15 minutes or longer, until the meat is moist and melded with the sauce.
  • Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • While the sauce is hot, toss in pappardelle.