The Tuscan country in this season offers quite an effervescent landscape. Farmers and land owners are harvesting olives together and delivering them to the local presses; the brand new Extra Virgin Olive Oil is pouring through shiny stainless steel spouts all over the region. Tractors are roaming the fields carrying loads of fruit, thin grey strings of smoke are rising toward the sky while fronds and little tree branches are piled up together and burned, and a sense of calm and gratitude toward the land is widespread and easily recognized while strolling through the olive orchards. However everybody’s ears are up, waiting for the occasional sound in the distance of the hunting rifles that have just been put to work. Every shot that is brought through the olive orchard by the calm fall breeze generates the biggest smiles you have ever seen, as people start dreaming about dinner: would it be it? Did they get one? People’s mouths start squirting saliva and stomachs start growling. After a long day of work in the fields there will be no better reward than a rustic meal prepared between the kitchen and the fireplace. As the Sun sets over the horizon and the last tractor leaves the fields for the day, everybody finally jumps out of their work outfits and muddy boots, the nets are collected around the olive trees, and the crowd splits in two very even groups: men will follow the tractors to the local press and supervise the production of the new oil, women will return home to prepare a hearty dinner, but not before stopping at the local butcher to see what the morning shots have brought to the store counter. Would it be pheasant, quail, heir or maybe… BOAR?
Brace yourself for one of Tuscany’s outmost revered pasta sauces; Boar Ragu! Rich, hearty, traditional, but most importantly absolutely delicious, this sauce will enter your recipe book and become a staple of your winter life at the kitchen table.
Serves:4-6 / Prep time: 20 minutes / Cook time: 1 1/2 hours
- 1 lb ground boar
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 celery rib, diced
- ½ cup Sangiovese wine
- 1 15oz can of whole peeled tomatoes (pelati)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon juniper berries
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig
- 3 fresh sage leaves
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cheese Cloth
1Cut a square of cheesecloth about 6” x 6#. Brake the rosemary sprigs in 3 parts. Place rosemary, sage and juniper seeds on center of cloth and using the twine close it a sachet.
2In a pot large enough to accommodate all ingredients, sauté onion, carrots, and celery in 3 tablespoons of olive oil on a medium- high flame for about 7-10 minutes, until softened and translucent.
3Add the boar meat and sear completely for about 5 minutes, pour the wine and let evaporate for about 4-5 minutes.
4When the smell of alcohol has vanished, break the pelati with your hands and add them to the meat along with herb sachet. Season with salt and pepper, mix well and reduce flame to a gentle simmer.
5Cook for about 1 hour or a touch longer if you’d like your sauce to reduce further.
6Remove the herb sachet.
7Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water, drain when very al dente and add to the sauce pan with the boar, mix well for a few seconds and serve.
8Dress with freshly grated parmesan cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.