Pappardelle al Ragù di Cinghiale (Fresh Pasta with Wild Boar Ragù)

It is hunting season, which means that game like wild boar and venison are on the menu. A classic recipe from Tuscany is pappardelle al ragù di cinghiale, fresh wide ribbon pasta with a sauce of wild boar stewed in tomatoes. The sturdy pasta and the sturdy ragù go very well together and perfect for this time of year.

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If you cannot find wild boar meat, you could also prepare this with pork shoulder but that will result in a milder taste. In classic recipes the boar meat is marinated in the red wine overnight, but that is not really necessary as long as you simmer the sauce for at least 2 hours over low heat.  A bouquet of bay leaves, rosemary, sage, and dried chile pepper is used to give the sauce a nice spiciness.

Ingredients

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For 4-6 servings

500 grams (1.1 lbs) wild boar stewing meat

2 cans (400 grams/14 oz) peeled tomatoes

125 ml (1/2 cup) full-bodied red wine, preferably Italian sangiovese (Chianti or Rosso di Montalcino)

125 ml (1/2 cup) milk

100 grams (1/2 cup) chopped carrot

100 grams (1/2 cup) chopped onions

100 grams (1/2 cup) chopped elery

1 clove garlic

2 bay leaves

1 sprig rosemary

1 sprig sage

1 dried chile pepper (peperoncino)

4 Tbsp olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pappardelle

4 eggs

400 grams (2 1/2 cups) semolina flour (semola di grano duro rimacinato)

To serve

freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Preparation

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Mince the carrot, onion, celery, and garlic very fine. I prefer to do this in the food processor.

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Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or casserole. Add the minced vegetables and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile, chop the boar meat into small pieces.

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Add the meat to the veggies and brown the meat over high heat until it is browned on all sides. Add some more olive oil if needed.

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Deglaze the pan with the red wine.

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Scrape the bottom with a wooden spatula to get all the tasty bits into the sauce.

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Add the tomatoes, blended in the food processor, as soon as most of the wine has evaporated. Bring to a boil, stirring.

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Arrange the rosemary, sage and dried chile between the two bay leaves.

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Use a piece of kitchen twine to tie the herbs together. This will make it easier to remove the herbs at the end of cooking.

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Add the bouquet of herbs to the sauce and make sure it is submerged.

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Lower the heat to a mere simmer once the sauce boils. Cover partially and simmer for two hours, stirring now and then.

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Add the milk after two hours.

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Stir and cook for 5 minutes more.

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Make pasta dough from the eggs and flour and roll it out to sheets of about 1 mm thick (1/24 inch). Sprinkle the sheets with semolina flour. Cut sheets of about 30 cm (12″) long. Fold them in quarters, then cut into strips of 2.5 cm (1″) wide.

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Unfold the ribbons and arrange the loosely on a plate. If you are not cooking the pappardelle straight away, it is better to allow the sheets of dough to dry a bit before cutting the pappardelle to avoid that they all stick together.

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Cook the pappardelle for a few minutes in boiling salted water.

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Drain the pappardelle and add to the ragù.

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Toss to mix.

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Serve immediately on warm plates, sprinkled with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.

Wine pairing

The best pairing for this hearty pasty dish is Brunello di Montalcino, but other sangiovese-based reds from Tuscany such as Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano or Rosso di Montalcino will also do a good job. The sangiovese goes well with the acidity of the tomatoes and the robustness of the wine goes well with the robustness of the ragù.

18 thoughts on “Pappardelle al Ragù di Cinghiale (Fresh Pasta with Wild Boar Ragù)

  1. Stefan – great recipe – and thanks for adding a link to making fresh pasta. A very close friend of mine has a ranch where the family hunts Elk and Buffalo in the fall (as you have probably seen on Curls and Carrots!) – I think these game meats would also work well, too. I look forward to making this for my friend – and am going to order the right equipment to make fresh pasta! I think there is a KitchenAid standing mixer attachment. Lovely flavors and nice bouquet of spices.

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    • I’m pretty sure elk would be great for this. There certainly is an attachment for your stand mixer. It does make pasta making very easy, although I still use my hand-cranked one as it is fun to ask guests to crank it for me 🙂

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  2. Another stellar recipe, Stefan. Though I’ve never tasted boar, Dad spoke of it from his boyhood in San Marino. We did as you mentioned and used a pork shoulder. Here you’ve created a very flavorful sauce and including a chille in the bouquet garni would give it a little bite. Perfect!

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  3. Very good indeed Stefan. I was reminded that we are in the hunting season when I saw venison shanks in a farmers market last weekend. They have to be on a menu soon.
    Best,
    Conor

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  4. Another outstanding post, Stefan. I have been dying to get some wild boar and I definitely need to do so after reading this post. Texas has a real problem with feral hogs and I recently found a place in Fort Worth that slaughters, butchers, packages and sells the feral pigs. Depending upon what they eat they are pretty good eating. I need to get some so I can try this recipe.

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