1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the rabbits with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Dredge the rabbit pieces in the instant flour and shake off any excess. Add the rabbit pieces to the pan and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the rabbit to a paper towel–lined plate and set aside.
2. Reduce the heat to medium-low, then add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook until the vegetables are caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. It’s important to caramelize the vegetables slowly, as this forms the basis of the sauce. Next add the remaining salt, the garlic, wine, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, crushed red pepper, and oregano and cook for 10 minutes longer. Return the rabbit to the pan along with the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and cook until the rabbit is very tender, 1 1⁄4 to 1 1⁄2 hours. Transfer the rabbit pieces to a plate and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the bay leaves. When cool, remove the meat from the bones and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Discard the bones and return the meat to the sauce.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pappardelle and cook according to the package directions until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta, toss with enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat, and set aside, covered, until ready to serve.
4. Combine the all-purpose flour and butter in a small bowl
and mix with a spoon to form a smooth paste.
5. Whisk half the butter-flour mixture into the rabbit ragout to thicken the sauce. Add more of the butter-flour mixture as necessary to achieve the desired consistency. Simmer the sauce for 1 minute (do not boil). Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the parsley.
6. In a large mixing bowl, toss the pasta with the sauce.
Mound onto serving plates and garnish with the Parmesan,
additional extra-virgin olive oil, and fresh pepper to taste.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings