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Pappardelle with Wild Boar Ragu

Total Time: 4 hr 40 min
Prep: 40 min
Cook: 4 hr
Yield:serves 4 as a main course or 8 as a first course
Level:Intermediate
Wine Pairing Suggestion: Chianti

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 boneless wild boar shoulder, cut into1/2-inch chunks (about 3 pounds)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 juniper berries, finely chopped
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 bundle fresh thyme
  • 1 recipe Chef Anne’s Pappardelle, recipe here
  • Grated Parmigiano, for sprinkling
  • Big fat finishing olive oil

Directions

  1. In a food processor, puree the garlic, carrots, celery and onions into a coarse paste. Reserve.
  2. Coat a large, wide pot with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Sprinkle the boar generously with salt and add to the hot pan. Cook the boar until it is VERY brown on all sides. Remove the boar from the pan and reserve.
  3. Ditch the excess oil in the pan. Add a few drops of new oil and add the pureed veggies to the pan. Season them with salt, and brown them until crud forms on the bottom of the pan. Scrape the crud off the bottom of the pan (don’t let the crud burn- it adds A LOT of flavor).
  4. Return the browned boar to the pan and add the tomato paste and cocoa powder. Stir to combine and cook the tomato paste for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Toss in the chopped juniper berries.
  5. Add the wine and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let the wine reduce by half.
  6. Add water to the pan so it covers the boar by about 1-inch. Toss in the bay leaves and thyme bundle. Taste the liquid and season with salt if needed (it will). Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook for 3 hours, adding water as the liquid level reduces. Taste frequently and re-season as needed.
  7. During the last 30 minutes of cooking time, let the cooking liquid reduce and the sauce get thick.
  8. Also during the last 30 minutes of cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat to cook the pappardelle. Pasta water should ALWAYS be well salted. Salty as the ocean! TASTE IT! If your pasta water is under seasoned, it doesn’t matter how good your sauce is, your complete dish will always taste under seasoned. When the water is at a rolling boil add the pappardelle and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  9. While the pasta is cooking, remove 1/2 of the ragu from the pot and reserve.
  10. Drain the pasta and add to the pot with the remaining ragu. Stir or toss the pasta to coat with the sauce. Add some of the reserved sauce if needed to make it about an even ratio between pasta and sauce. Add the reserved pasta cooking water and cook the pasta and sauce together over a medium heat until the water has reduced. Turn off the heat and give a generous drizzle of the big fat finishing olive oil. Toss or stir vigorously. Divide the pasta and sauce into serving bowls or one big pasta bowl. Top with grated Parmigiano. Serve immediately.