Rabbit Ragu with fresh Pappardelle Pasta and Shaved Parmesan
1 rabbit (2 1/2 to 3 1/2 ), cut into 8 pieces, bone in (can also use Lamb or Beef)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
1 anchovy (optional)
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
Pinch of red-pepper flakes
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup seeded, chopped San Marzano tomatoes
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
12 ounces fresh pappardelle
Pecorino Romano cheese, for grating
Pat the rabbit pieces dry and season with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the oil and brown the pieces, working in batches if needed to avoid crowding. Transfer to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the anchovy (if you choose) and mash it until it dissolves into the oil. Add the onion, carrots and celery, stirring until soft, about 5 minutes. Then add the red-pepper flakes, garlic and tomato paste, stirring for another minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine, turn the heat to high and boil to burn off the alcohol, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth, bay leaves and thyme.
Return the rabbit pieces to the pot, spacing them evenly so they are partly covered by the liquid. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the rabbit is falling off the bone, about 2 hours. Turn the pieces at least once.
Turn off the heat and discard the thyme and bay leaves. Remove the rabbit from the sauce and let cool; then pull the meat from the bones. Shred some pieces and leave others large. Return the meat to the pan and simmer the sauce until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the butter, piece by piece. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pappardelle until al dente. Before draining, save a cup of the pasta water. Toss the pappardelle with the sauce over low heat, adding pasta water as necessary if the sauce is too thick. Divide among pasta bowls and top with the grated cheese.