Potato Gnocchi with Wild Boar Ragu

After our trip to Tuscany this past fall, I came home wanting to cook wild boar ragu. Wild Boar, or cinghiale as their called in Italy, used in various meat sauces and charcuterie in Italy.

For a starting point on my recipe, I used Nancy Silverton’s cookbook, “Mozza.” If you don’t own this cookbook, I’d recommend it for great Italian recipes and an amazing homemade pizza dough recipe.

For my gnocchi, I’ve tried many recipes and prefer one from Mike Isabella of “Graffiato” in Washington, D.C.

I luckily found a wild boar roast at my local Shop Rite in New Jersey. You may be able to special order wild boar from your butcher, otherwise you can order online from D’artagnan.

For the Gnocchi Recipe, see the link below:

Homemade Potato Gnocchi

Potato Gnocchi with Wild Boar Ragu

Total Time: 5 hours

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • Potato Gnocchi (see recipe)
  • 2 lbs. boneless boar or lamb shoulder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 4 carrots, finely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced,
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 anchovy fillets, (preferably salt-packed), rinsed, backbones removed, and finely chopped.
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary needles
  • 2 cups chicken stock, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ---For Finishing and Serving Pasta---
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grate Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Finishing Quality Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Before making the ragu, put the boar shoulder in the freezer for 40-50 minutes to firm up the meat. This will make it easier to cut into cubes later on.
  2. To make the ragu, cut the meat into 1/2-inch cubes. Place the meat in a non-reactive baking dish, season it with salt and pepper, and toss to coat the meat all over with the seasonings. Cover the dish and plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to overnight.
  3. Sautee the onions, celery, carrots and garlic in olive oil until fragrant over medium-high heat. Turn down the heat to medium to medium-low and sautee and the soffritto is very soft and almost mushy.
  4. Next, add the rosemary and anchovies and cook for 2-3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high. Move the vegetables to create a bare spot in the pan, add the tomato paste to that spot, and cook for 1 minute, stirring, to caramelize the tomato paste slightly. Add the wine, increase heat to high, and boil the wine until the pan is almost dry, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, 2 cups chicken stock, and the red pepper flakes, and bring sauce to a simmer. Add the meat, return sauce to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and simmer the ragu, adding more chicken stock to keep the ragu from getting too thick or sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the meat is tender, about 4 hours.
  6. To test for doneness, put a cube of meat on a plate. If you can smash it easily with the back of the spoon, it's done; otherwise, continue cooking. When the ragu is done, turn off the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Ladle 1 cup of the ragu into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse several times to chop the meat but not quite puree it. Return the chopped meat to the pan and stir to combine. If necessary, return the pot to medium to heat and cook the ragu until the sauce is thick. Add the parsley and Parmigiano and stir to combine.
  8. To serve, plate the gnocchi and top with ragu. Garnish with grated parmigiano, chopped parsley and drizzle with finishing-quality olive oil.
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