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Wild Boar Bolognese: Not your mum’s spaghetti sauce!

Updated: Feb 28, 2019

I’m sure everyone had a go to recipe for a tomato meat sauce over noodles that their mum used to make, either from scratch or using (shutter) jarred ragu. (I’m a sauce snob, sorry). I love to chop, sauté and simmer beautiful tomatoes, home grown herbs, onion, garlic and a bit of flesh creating the comfort food of my youth. And I will always go back to this recipe when I need the soothing arms of nostalgia to ease my weariness. But, when I’m having my usual glass half full moment, I’m going for the wild boar sauce. Oh yeah, the foods of Tuscany, enhanced by excellent wines, can bring a Joy even your mum can’t dampen. Every restaurant or trattoria has their mama‘s Bolognese con Cinghiale.

This is a simple recipe that takes little time and can be played with to suit the needs and tastes of your family and guests. i was first turned on to a version of this quick recipe by the one and only Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. Love this woman!



olive oil......always the good stuff, never measured, you just know

1lb. Wild boar *

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 T. Dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

red pepper flakes....see note**

2 C red wine, preferably Chianti or Italian table wine, divided

1 box , 26.46oz. POMI chopped tomatoes, plus a bit extra


1 can CENTO diced tomatoes

.......these are my preferred tomatoes but any brand will do.

2 T tomato paste, use the tube paste instead of canned as there is no waste

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 Cup heavy cream

fresh basil

3/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese plus some for serving.

Heat the olive oil, ok, about 3 tablespoons, in a large skillet over medium heat.

Brown your meat then add the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the aromas are released. Add the red pepper flakes if desired. Pour in half of the wine and let it cook down to half, deglazing the pan as you go. You’ve got to get all that goodness.

Stir in the tomato and tomato paste, bring to a slow boil then simmer for 15-20 minutes.

While that simmers make your pasta of choice. Many recommend small shaped pastas for this but I prefer tagliatelle or pappardelle, wide, thick splashy noodles! Remember, not too soft, when you think they are done,pull one from the pot and throw against the tile backsplash. If it hangs they are ready. Plus, this is fun for children of all ages.

Finish the sauce. Add the cream and the nutmeg, don’t worry about the red to pink colour change, throw in the rest of the wine, the cheese and the basil and let it cook about ten minutes or so. At the point you can leave it on a very low simmer until you are ready for it. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/4 Cup***of the cooking water, and put the reserved water and then the noodles into the sauce if your skillet is large enough. If no, combine all in a serving bowl, top with some shaved cheese and enjoy with some crusty bread, salad and wonderful Italian wine.

* I am able to find wild boar in 1 pound packages at various locations, like, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or Sprouts. You can use any combination of meat for this recipe whether you prefer, minced beef, diced beef, veal, sausage or minced turkey. I am not a fan of minced turkey but it’s your sauce. 😩

**various recipes in my research add hot pepper flakes. I do this too but use it sparingly, a sprinkle. Some recipes call for as much 1/2 teaspoon. I use a pinch and am satisfied with the bit of kick. Add in right before the wine.

*** adding a bit of the water the pasta was cooked in helps the sauce adhere to the pasta. Old wives tale? I take no chances!

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