When I think of wild boar and Italy together, my mind immediately thinks of ragù. This is a very rich dish that is very similar to bolognese.
Ragù is a meat-based sauce with a very deep savory taste; this is from the red wine in particular. Bolognese, on the other hand, uses white wine.
For this dish, I wanted to keep it rustic. Typically ragù is made with ground meat, but in this recipe, you will see I used chopped meat. It is fine to use either.
My reason for this is:
- I prefer the texture this way, and I wanted the dish to focus more on the wild boar than the sauce
- I used wild boar neck for this dish which has incredible texture after the appropriate amount of time cooking
I also chose to go with tagliatelle pasta, but your most typical pasta will work. Normally ragù is served with pappardelle or tagliatelle.
Ragù is Acidic
You may find that your ragù is too acidic when you follow some recipes. One secret I was let in on while on a hunting trip in Italy was to add milk to the dish.
Ok, it’s not so much of a secret and is frequently used in bolognese dishes, but it works.
It cuts the acidity of the tomatoes and leaves a well-binded dish with a little creaminess. I find that it leads to a fuller dish and compliments the flavor profile much better.
Wild Boar Ragù
Rustic wild boar ragu with pasta.
- 1.5 pounds of wild boar meat for stewing (shoulder, leg, neck) cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups red wine
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup beef stock
- 2 black garlic cloves
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 2 tablespoons juniper berries
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large celery stalk finely chopped
- 1 large carrot finely chopped
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 handful chanterelle mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 1.5 cups tinned tomatoes
- olive oil for frying
- Parmigiano for serving
- Pasta for serving (tagliatelle, pappardelle)
- The night before, add the wild boar meat, black garlic, garlic, celery, onion, juniper berries, pepper, bay leaves, and wine into a non-reactive bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.
- When ready, drain the meat and veg from the bowl using a strainer. Reserve the wine, veg, and seasonings for cooking.
- In a heavy bottom pan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil and add the celery, carrots, mushrooms, and onions. Saute for 3-5 minutes, until soft.
- Add the meat and cook, continuously stirring until the meat juices have evaporated.
- Add the wine and cook for 10-15 minutes until reduced by half.
- Add tomatoes, bay leaves, rosemary, crushed juniper berries, and pepper.
- Add in 1 cup of beef stock and 1 cup of milk. Stir and cover. Cook on low heat for 2 hours, adding more water if necessary, and cook until the meat is tender
- When ready to serve, cook pasta according to instructions and serve the ragu on top of the pasta with some fresh grated Parmigiano.
The meat can be minced or cut up. I prefer to cut the meat to add a more rustic feel to the dish.
Rusty enjoys connecting food and nature and has done so since a child. He was fortunate enough to explore cuisine worldwide and work at great European restaurants. He now enjoys thinking up new recipes that he can find around him in nature in North America.