Nothing reminds me of our time in Tuscany more than a hearty bowl of wild boar ragu, served over homemade gnocchi. Wild boar, or Cinghiale as it's called in Italian, is a gamey tasting meat that when slow cooked with tomatoes makes a rich hearty sugo. Paired with gnocchi this is one of my all-time favorite dishes and something we ate often in Italy.
I recently received wild boar stew meat from D'Artagnan Foods and couldn't resist making a ragu. One bite and I was instantly transported to the hills of Tuscany and reminded how much I love and miss Italy.
Wild Boar Ragu
2 1/2 lb boneless wild boar, preferably cut from the leg
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1 tablespoon juniper berries
2 bay leaves
6 fresh sage leaves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, trimmed and chopped
1 1/4 lb plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl, combine the wild boar, wine, juniper berries, bay leaves and sage. Marinate the boar in a cool place for 6-12 hours. Drain the meat and pat it dry with paper towels. Strain the marinade, reserving the liquid, set aside.
In a casserole over moderate heat, warm the olive oil. Add the meat and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the onion, carrot and celery, stirring over low heat for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking over low heat for about 50 minutes. When the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated add 1 cup of the marinade liquid.
Cook the boar for about 3 hours, gradually adding the remaining marinade so that the sauce never sticks to the pan. When the sauce is ready, season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the boar and shred. Serve with homemade gnocchi.