Do be sure to source the finest pasta you can afford for this dish, ideally fresh egg pappardelle... shells and bow ties just don’t cut it with this one.
Heat the oven to 150°C/300°F/GAS Mark 2. Season the rabbit and veal with some salt and pepper. In a heavy casserole pan, brown the meat in the oil on a medium/high heat. Remove and set aside. Reduce the heat, gently fry the pancetta in half of the butter and remaining fat for 3-4 minutes, then add the fennel seeds and chilli flakes, and fry for 1 minute more.
Add the diced vegetables and garlic and turn the heat down to low, adding a pinch of salt to draw out the moisture.
After 10-15 minutes, when the veg is completely soft, place the meat back in and add the sherry. Allow to come to a simmer and add the tomato purée and enough stock to cover. Cover loosely and place in the oven for 3-4 hours, until the meat is falling apart and the liquid has reduced by half. Remove the rabbit joints and allow to cool, then remove the meat from the bones, roughly breaking it up and returning it to the cooking liquid.
Reduce further on the hob if needed, until the mixture is a glorious thick sludge.
Cook the pappardelle as instructed on the packet, or for 3-4 minutes if made fresh. Turn the pasta through the sauce with a little of the pasta cooking water.
Before serving, stir through a final knob of butter, a couple of handfuls of grated parmesan, the lemon zest and the chopped parsley.