Pasta al Ragu di Cinghiale

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Wild boar, or cinghiale is something we enjoy often during the 6 months we spend in Umbria each year, whether it is in a stew, made into a pasta sauce, or cured into salami or prosciutto. Once we return stateside however, wild boar is not easily found so we rarely get to enjoy it. I recently came across some ground wild boar meat at a local butcher shop and absolutely had to buy it. Although it is more common to find a tomato based boar sauce, I had one “in bianco”, or without tomatoes, once in an Umbrian restaurant that I fell in love with. I decided to make my sauce without tomatoes and planned to use a dry white wine as the base, but as I progressed I find the sauce was a little flat and I ended up adding tomato paste to give the sauce more flavor. Although my meat was ground, you could also use cubed wild boar and just break it apart after it has cooked.

This pasta sauce works well with just about any type of pasta although I chose to serve it on strangozzi, a square shaped long pasta typical of Umbria. This is one of those sauces that I find benefits from cooking long and slow and in fact I found the flavor even better the next day when I reheated the leftovers. As the sauce cooks, if it thickens too much, simply add some water to loosen it.

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Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2014

Pasta al Ragu di Cinghiale

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Pound Ground Wild Boar
  • 1 Small Onion, Peeled & Diced
  • 1/3 Cup Finely Diced Carrots
  • 1/3 Cup Finely Diced Celery
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Minced
  • 1 (4 Ounce) Can Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 1 Quart Dry White Wine
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • 1 Pound Dry Pasta Of Choice

To Serve:

  • Grated Pecorino Cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat and add the meat to the pan, breaking up the ground meat with two forks as it cooks.
  2. Once the meat is browned, add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, and cook until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and flour and stir into the meat and vegetables until well blended.
  4. Add the wine, parsley, basil, oregano, and rosemary, and season well with salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  6. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 hours, adding a cup of water as needed if sauce thickens too much.
  7. Cook your pasta of choice in a large pot of lightly salted water until it is al dente.
  8. Drain the pasta, return to the pot, then add a couple of scoops of sauce to the pasta and mix well.
  9. Serve the pasta in individual bowls with a spoonful of additional sauce and offer the cheese at the table.