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.
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.
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
400 grams (2 1/2 cups) semolina flour (semola di grano duro rimacinato)
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
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.
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.
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.