Fettuccine with spicy pork or wild boar sauce

Unique and appealing flavours!

I first tasted a version of this dish during a magical trip to attend a cooking school in Tuscany (thanks, Mom!) 16 years ago. That trip marked the beginning of the enduring food-intensive phase of my life and opened my heart and hands to so many wonderful culinary discoveries. This dish was part of a meal we enjoyed in a small, ancient restaurant’s wine cellar. After just one bite, I knew I would have to recreate this unforgettable pasta. The menu called it Pappardelle al Ragu di Cinghiale – Pasta with Wild Boar Sauce. While the boar certainly imparts a unique flavour, my version uses pork tenderloin because it’s a lot easier to find in North America (but if you can get your hands on some wild boar – do it!) Homemade pasta – fettuccine or wider, depending on your cutter – is always fun to make and serve; if you have not the time or interest, just buy the best fresh pasta you can find. Serve this up with a robust Italian red and lots of crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons (90 mL) olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (left whole)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) fresh or 1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried rosemary, chopped fine
  • 1 – 2 whole dried chili peppers (depending upon how spicy you like your food)
  • 4 whole cloves plus 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground cloves
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) wild boar loin (or pork tenderloin)
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) tomato paste
  • 2 cups (500 mL) water
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly grated Parmesan
  • 4 servings fettuccine (about 1 to 1.25 pounds/450 – 550 grams of fresh pasta)

Method

  • With a sharp knife, slice and chop the meat very finely until it resembles the texture of freshly ground meat.
  • In a medium pot, heat the oil and then sauté the garlic, rosemary, chili and cloves over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped meat to the oil along with a few grinds each of salt and pepper.
  • Just as the garlic is about to brown, add the wine and allow to evaporate for 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste & water; cook over low heat, covered, for 90 minutes, until meat is tender and flavours are thoroughly blended.
  • Remove the lid and let the sauce simmer, reduce and thicken for 30 minutes longer.
  • When sauce is finished, remove garlic, cloves & chili from sauce and keep warm over low heat.
  • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until just tender (al dente).
  • To serve, pour sauce over hot cooked, drained pasta in a warmed, large bowl and stir to blend.
  • Pass freshly grated parmesan at the table.

Makes 4 servings. Leftovers are sublime. Sauce freezes very well.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.

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