Story and photos by Manos Angelakis

Pici al Ragu Di Cinghiale

Cinghiale alla Genovese
(Wild Boar Genovese Style)

There are varying legends on the origins of the name, one being that the Genovese who owned taverns along the Port of Naples in the 13th and 14th century made this meat sauce. The Neapolitan version is made with beef chuck, uses no tomatoes and is considered the “queen” of Neapolitan cuisine. But there is another very popular version of the sauce that uses tomatoes and comes from Western Tuscany, where wild boar (Cinghiale) is one of the most often used game meats. It is a ragú, typically to dress pasta, and is served in autumn and winter. During my last trip to Scanzano to visit the Morelino wineries, we had lots of Cinghiale cooked in many ways.

Normally, it takes about 4 hours of cooking at low temperature to tenderize the meat. However, wild boar becomes quite tender when cooked in a pressure cooker, so the recipe is based on using this type of implement. I use a T-fal Clipso Pressure Cooker that is dishwasher safe. It is fast, convenient and makes excellent soups and stews especially using inexpensive meat cuts. The cuts, with less fat in them that would be normally pretty tough, become butter-soft. 


1/3 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta or guanciale, thickly sliced and diced
2 pounds wild boar meat, cut into thick strips with the grain*
1 pound veal shank, with bone
1 large carrot, chopped
2 ribs of celery with leafy tops, chopped
1 28 oz. can of Italian San Marzano tomatoes (peeled and crushed)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 allspice (roughly cracked in a mortar)
5 to 7 red or white medium onions, quartered then very thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup dry white wine

* In NYC, Citarrela Gourmet Market on the Upper East Side and Ottomanelli & Sons Prime Meat Shop & Wild Game are known to carry in season wild boar meat. 

Method to make the meat sauce:

Dredge the raw meats in the seasoned flour. In the pressure cooker, heat the oil at medium/high heat and then brown the meats on all sides turning frequently. Remove meats and set aside. Sauté the pancetta, onions, garlic, vegetables, oregano, allspice and bay leaves for five minutes in the cooker or until soft. Deglaze the bottom with half of the wine. Return the meat to the pressure cooker and cover with the vegetables; add the rest of the wine and tomatoes. Close the cooker and when the steam starts to release, lower the heat to medium/low and cook for 45 minutes. Release pressure. Move the meat to a bowl. Remove the bones and the bay leaves and shred the meat with a fork.  Pass vegetables through a food mill. Return the vegetable purée to the liquid and reduce by a third over high heat. Pour over the meat and mix well. In Tuscany, the sauce is mostly served over papardelle or pici sienese – a handmade thick pasta made from flour and water.

The same basic meat sauce recipe -- sans the canned tomatoes -- can be used for Paccieri alla Genovese (large pasta tubes, Neapolitan style). To make the Neapolitan style sauce use beef chuck instead of Cinghiale and add an additional 1/3 cup of wine.




© January 2016 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.


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