Tuscan Wild Boar Ragu with Pappardelle Pasta

Tuscan Wild Boar Ragu with Pappardelle Pasta Ribbons

This rich and hearty wild boar ragu recipe comes from Tuscany. However, wild boar ragu with pasta is popular in a number of other Italian regions too, including where I live in Veneto. In fact, we often see wild boar near our house! But, of course, we don’t hunt them!

Tuscan wild boar ragu with pappardelle

Pappardelle con ragu di cinghiale alla toscana.

To many people, wild boar ragu sounds rather exotic and luxurious! But, actually, wild boar has been hunted and eaten by humans for thousands of years. In fact, it is used in traditional recipes in many parts of the world.

Ready to cook wild boar meat in packet

Here in Italy, wild boar are hunted and farmed throughout the country. The meat is used to make salami and sausages and cooked in various ways, although mostly braised or stewed. One of the most well-known wild boar dishes is this pappardelle with wild boar ragu, which comes from Tuscany There, it is often thought of as ‘the’ regional dish!

ingredients for TUscan wild boar ragu on white plate

Wild boar in Tuscany.

Wild boar are widespread in Tuscany. I have read that there are around 150,000 wild boar in the region. Many of these animals can be found in the Maremma area, a beautiful unspoiled part of Southern Tuscany, which is home to a large national park of the same name.

ingredients for wild boar ragu marinating in red wine

Hunting wild boar is a tradition and a passion in Tuscany and there are many Tuscan specialities made with wild boar. The region hosts about 10 annual wild boar festivals in different towns and villages, where visitors can taste some of these foods.

pappardelle from Pasta Marilungo

Wild boar is a very healthy meat!

Whether farmed or hunted, wild boar is a very healthy meat. It is lower in calories, fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than normal pork. It’s also higher in protein than pork, beef, lamb and chicken. When farmed, the animals are kept in a free-range environment and aren’t given any antibiotics or growth hormones. This is true not only in Italy, but also the US.

chopped vegetables and garlic in frying pan

Apart from being a healthier meat option, wild boar is also very tasty. It falls somewhere between pork and venison. Although, the older the animal, the stronger the flavour. Older animals also have tougher meat. Here in Italy, the meat for wild boar ragu is traditionally marinated in red wine to not only tenderize it, but also to add flavour! This is what I did for this Tuscan wild boar ragu recipe and the meat was melt in your mouth soft!

wild boar meat and vegetables cooking in a frying pan

Marinating the wild boar meat makes it tender.

As I mentioned above, wild boar meat has to be marinated in red wine with herbs and vegetables for 12 hours before cooking. I used a Chianti, of course! Some people leave it for 24 hours! So, you will need to take that into account when planning to prepare this dish. However, apart from the marinating and cooking time, Tuscan wild boar ragu is pretty easy to make. Cooking times can vary depending on the meat.

Tuscan wild boar ragu in a frying pan

I found recipes with widely different recommended cooking times (from one hour to 4 hours!). So, I suggest it’s best to be prepared to cook as long as necessary for the meat to be tender rather than just to follow the stated cooking times. As I said before, the older the animal the tougher the meat. So, meat from a young animal will require less cooking time than that of an older boar. Mine took about 2 hours.

Tuscan wild boar ragu with pappardelle

Other ingredients for your wild boar ragu.

The other ingredients are similar to those in other ragu recipes; onion, carrot, celery, peeled tomatoes and herbs such as rosemary and bay leaves, as well as juniper berries.  Some recipes call for sage instead of rosemary, or both. I didn’t use sage.  Some recipes suggest using the marinating veggies in the sauce. But, I peeled and chopped fresh ones as I didn’t like the idea of using the wine soaked ones.

Tuscan wild boar ragu

Wow your guests with wild boar ragu!

Nowadays wild boar meat is quite widely available and can even be bought online. Here, I can buy it frozen all year round already cut into chunks.  Needless to say, wild boar is more expensive than pork. But, now and again, I think it’s great to try new foods and this is very much a special occasion dish, even in Italy. It’s sure to give your meal a wow factor and impress your guests. It would be perfect for a holiday meal at Christmas or New Year.

Tuscan wild boar ragu with pappardelle

The pasta.

Wild boar ragu is nearly always served with pappardelle, or sometimes tagliatelle. I used dried pappardelle that I got earlier this year on a visit to Campofilone in Le Marche region. Campofilone is famous for its fine egg pasta called maccheroncini di Campofilone. However, many of the pasta makers there also make other types of egg pasta. This pappardelle came from a company called Pasta Marilungo.

Tuscan wild boar ragu

If you don’t have pappardelle or tagliatelle, you can use different pasta! You can also serve this Tuscan wild boar ragu with polenta or mashed potatoes. Both are yummy, although I prefer with pasta, of course!

If you do try this Tuscan wild boar ragu recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. Please, write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.

Your feedback means a lot to me!

Buon Appetito!

Other recipes from Tuscany on The Pasta Project.

  1. Tuscan gnudi with tomato sauce
  2. Pasta and chickpea soup from Tuscany
  3. Tuscan pici pasta all’etrusca
5 from 34 votes
Tuscan wild boar ragu with pappardelle
Tuscan wild boar ragu with pappardelle pasta
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
marinating time
12 hrs
Total Time
14 hrs 20 mins
 

This rich and delicious Tuscan wild boar ragu recipe with pappardelle is probably the most well-known and popular way to eat wild boar in Italy. Wow yout guests with this authentic Italian pasta recipe from Tuscany.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Central Italy, Italian, Tuscany
Keyword: authentic Italian pasta recipe, game, Italian food, Italian recipe, pappardelle, pasta with game, Tuscany, wild boar
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
Ingredients
  • 500 g wild boar (1.1lbs) you can also use pork
  • 400 g pappardelle pasta (14oz)
for Marinade
  • 1 onion peeled and halved
  • 1 carrot washed and cut into large pieces
  • 1 celery stalk washed and cut into large pieces
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp juniper berries
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 lt red wine (4-5 cups)
  • ground black pepper
For the sauce
  • 500 g tomato passata or peeled tomatoes (1.1lbs)
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot washed and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk washed and finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 glass red wine
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Wash the wild boar meat, cut it into chunks and put it in a large bowl.

  2. Add the onion (peeled and cut in half) and the carrot and the celery in large pieces, the 2 peeled cloves of garlic, the bay leaves, the juniper berries, the rosemary and some black pepper. 

  3. Cover with red wine and mix.

  4. Cover the container with plastic wrap or a lid and allow to stand in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.

  5. Once the necessary time has passed, drain the meat and eliminate the vegetables and herbs. You can cut the meat into smaller pieces if preferred.

Make the ragu
  1. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet and fry the garlic, carrot, celery and onion slightly Add the bay leaves

  2. Add the wild boar meat and brown it on all sides.

  3. Add the red wine and let the alcohol evaporate. 

  4. Lower the flame and cook for about 10 minutes.

  5. Add the tomato pulp/ peeled tomatoes and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook with the flame reduced to a minimum for about 1.5-2 hours (depending on the size of the pieces of wild boar and how old it is). Stir occasionally and add some beef stock or water if the sauce seems dry.

  6. While the ragu is cooking put a pot of water onto boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. When you are ready to serve your wild boar ragu, cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Once ready, save a cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta. 

  7. If you are reheating the ragu and it seems dry add some of the pasta cooking water. Remove the bay leaves and garlic cloves and add the pasta to the ragu and mix together carefully. You don’t want to break the pasta ribbons. 

  8. Serve immediately. (Italians don't normally add grated cheese to this dish or chopped parsley)

Recipe Notes

Cooking times don't include marinating for 12 hours.

This dish can also be eaten with tagliatelle or other pasta of your choice.

If you can't find wild boar, this recipe can be made with pork shoulder. Cooking times may differ. 

Want to know more about my life in Italy? Go to the homepage and subscribe to my newsletter. New subscribers get a free recipe e-book too! https://www.the-pasta-project.com

This recipe was originally published in 2018. It has been updated with new photos and text.

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79 Comments

  • Avatar
    Kim Quinn
    January 11, 2020 3:13 pm

    Can I stretch my wild boar a bit by adding thick sliced portobello mushrooms? I would like to make it for 8 people adding it its a bit expensive. We have its at a meat store not far from me in Massachusetts. ..Yay! I’ve read mushrooms take on the flavor of what you cook them with and I love their earthy flavor. Would it hurt the recipe? Shopping tomorrow!

    • Avatar
      Kim Quinn
      January 11, 2020 3:16 pm

      Sorry, meant ‘and it is a bit expensive’. Would the mushrooms help me get away with a pound +. If I could swing the price of 2 pounds.

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      January 11, 2020 6:16 pm

      Hi Kim, I think adding portobello mushrooms would work well to help stretch the recipe out for 8 people. However, don’t marinate them with the wild boar. Mushrooms absorb liquid easily and they’ll get mushy. Better if they are still ‘meaty’! Do let me know how it turns out!

  • Avatar
    M
    January 3, 2020 3:15 pm

    This is one if my very favourite Tuscan dishes! One question though – are you suggesting marinating veggies and boar together, then separating the veggies and boar for the sautéing?

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      January 3, 2020 8:39 pm

      Hi M, this is one of my favourite Tuscan dishes too!! Yes, marinate meat and veggies together but then, as I said in the post, I prefer to discard the veggies in the marinade and cook the meat sauce with fresh veggies. However, in some Italian recipes, they cook the sauce with the marinated veggies.

  • Avatar
    SHANIKA
    December 16, 2019 7:31 pm

    I’ve never tried Wild Boar, but it looks like such a flavorful meat to add to pasta! This looks so good!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 11:39 pm

      Thank you, Shanika. If you like pork and venison, you will like wild boar!

  • Avatar
    Jo
    December 16, 2019 4:26 am

    That truly looks sensational. The flavors are so simple and delicious! The tips on cooking meat is so useful. I’m sure this would be one delicious dinner

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 11:40 pm

      Thank you, Jo. I am glad you find the tips useful!

  • Avatar
    Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer
    December 15, 2019 9:08 pm

    What a truly unique and creative recipe! Marrying into an Italian family, this is something I know they’d love! I need to look and see if I can find this locally as this looks scrumptions!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 11:42 pm

      Thank you, Lori. I bet this would be a hit!

  • Avatar
    Jamie
    December 15, 2019 1:15 pm

    This pasta dish looks so delicious and hearty! Pappardelle is one of my favorite pastas and I crave it all the time. I’ll be making this for dinner this week!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 11:44 pm

      Mine too Jamie! I hope you try it and love it!

  • Avatar
    Danielle
    December 13, 2019 6:56 am

    The word “Tuscan” in the name makes me feel nostalgic for some reason. I’ve GOT to try this dish right where it originated – that would be amazing. Great tip on the meat cooking time.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 11:45 pm

      I hope you do Danielle, that would be a perfect trip!

  • Avatar
    Kushigalu
    December 13, 2019 6:43 am

    How creative is this. I have nver tried it this way before. Looks amazingly delicious.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 11:47 pm

      Thank you, Kushigalu.

  • Avatar
    Carrie | Clean Eating Kitchen
    December 12, 2019 4:39 pm

    What a delicious looking dish so full of flavor! I’ve had wild boar, but never like this before! Will have to put an order in with my butcher, thanks for sharing this!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 11:48 pm

      Thank you, Carrie! I hope you can get it from the butcher to try this recipe!

  • Avatar
    Beth
    December 12, 2019 3:25 pm

    I only run across wild game meat at the farmer’s market, so will have to wait until it resumes next Spring, but I love this wonderful recipe idea.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 11:50 pm

      I love that you can get it from the farmer’s market Beth!

  • Avatar
    Marcellina
    December 12, 2019 1:39 pm

    Like many others, we too enjoyed this dish while in Tuscany earlier this year. I can’t get wild boar here in North Queensland, Australia but I like this technique of marinating the meat. It’s something I’d like to do with pork or beef.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 11:51 pm

      That’s a good idea Marcellina. Wild boar can be tricky to get hold of.

  • Avatar
    Simone
    December 12, 2019 11:59 am

    I’ve never tried wild boar. I’m going to have to see if I can find it & try this scrumptious looking recipe!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 11:54 pm

      If you like venison you will like wild boar!

  • Avatar
    Aimee DiPasquale
    December 11, 2019 9:33 pm

    You are right, a lot of people think of boar as exotic. I have tried it and its great but it is a little on the expensive side here in America.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 11:55 pm

      Good for a special occasion Aimee!

  • Avatar
    Ai
    December 11, 2019 3:58 pm

    Looks delicious! Wild boar’s delicious, but I’ve never had it with pasta, only in shabu shabu!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 11:57 pm

      Thank you, Al! I hope you get to try it.

  • Avatar
    Kelly Anthony
    December 11, 2019 3:55 pm

    What a special dish to make for friends and family. This Tuscan wild boar ragu is sure to impress any guest.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 11:57 pm

      Thank you, Kelly!

  • Avatar
    gari
    December 11, 2019 6:26 am

    It surely looks great one to try….never had boar but this looks truly great.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 30, 2019 12:00 am

      Thank you, Gari. I hope you try it and love it!

  • Avatar
    Lisa Ho
    December 11, 2019 4:00 am

    Delightful pasta recipe 🙂

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 30, 2019 12:00 am

      Thank you, Lisa!

  • Avatar
    Genevieve
    December 11, 2019 3:56 am

    I love pasta and this recipe looks amazing! It’s hard to find authentic pasta like that here in the states. Talk about a classic Italian dish!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 30, 2019 12:04 am

      That’s a shame Genevieve. You could probably source the pasta at a local Italian deli.

  • Avatar
    Angela
    December 11, 2019 1:34 am

    This looks lovely and I may need to try to find wild boar here in the states and if not try pork.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 30, 2019 12:06 am

      Pork would be a lovely substitute Angela.

  • Avatar
    Denise
    December 10, 2019 11:08 pm

    I have never tried wild boar before, but I am intrigued. Your recipe looks mouth watering!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 30, 2019 12:08 am

      Thank you, Denise. You should give wild boar a try if you get the chance!

  • Avatar
    Erika
    December 10, 2019 10:11 pm

    I’ve never tried wild boar before, but this dish looks so good. I’m not sure if I can find it locally, but I’ll try. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Raquel
    December 10, 2019 9:27 pm

    I love how you so often use meat that I’d never even imagined trying before! It broadens my horizon (:

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 30, 2019 12:09 am

      Thank you, Raquel! I hope you get to try wild boar!

  • Avatar
    Christy Boston’s Kitchen
    December 10, 2019 9:00 pm

    Mmmmmm, I love ragu! This recipe with marinated wild boar and veggies sounds pretty hearty – a great winter meal!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 30, 2019 12:10 am

      Thank you, Christy. This ragu is really wonderful!

  • Avatar
    Kay
    December 10, 2019 4:51 pm

    What a fantastic recipe, I have never had wild boar and not sure where in the UK we would get it from?? Will have to look into it…… Until then, I will give it a go with pork. Thanks for sharing!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 30, 2019 12:15 am

      Thank you, Kay. You should be able to find it online or at a specialist butcher!

  • Avatar
    Tamara J
    December 10, 2019 4:10 pm

    I can’t wait to try this- what do you think about substituting ground pork or beef for the wild boar? It may not be as simple to find here in Florida! Pappardelle pasta is some of my fave, so this is an amazing recipe.

  • Avatar
    Chef Dennis
    December 10, 2019 4:32 am

    I’ve never tried this before. Your Tuscan Wild Boar Ragu with Pappardelle Pasta Ribbons recipe looks really delicious and this would be really good for our next family meal.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 30, 2019 12:16 am

      Thank you, I hope everyone loves it!

  • Avatar
    Alisa Infanti
    December 9, 2019 8:10 pm

    What an interesting dish. I would never think of using wild boar in a pasta dish but this recipe was fantastic!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 30, 2019 12:18 am

      Thank you, Alisa!

  • Avatar
    Lisa | Garlic & Zest
    December 9, 2019 7:18 pm

    This ragu sounds so rich and satisfying. I’ve never cooked with wild boar before, but I did have it while on vacation in Martinique of all places. I’m going to have to source some to make this beautiful dish.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 30, 2019 12:22 am

      Thank you, Lisa. I hope you source some to try it.

  • Avatar
    Jessica Formicola
    December 9, 2019 6:20 pm

    I absolutely love wild boar, and this pasta looks amazing! I can’t wait to make it for dinner tonight!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 30, 2019 12:23 am

      Fabulous Jessica, let me know how it turns out!

  • Avatar
    Suzy
    December 9, 2019 5:50 pm

    Pappardelle is perfect for a ragu sauce! I can’t wait to find wild boar meat and give this a try!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 30, 2019 12:24 am

      It is Suzy! Pappardelle is wonderful!

  • Avatar
    Pam Greer
    December 9, 2019 5:47 pm

    We found some wild boar online and this recipe is amazing! So rich and comforting! It’s so worth finding some wild boar!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 30, 2019 12:25 am

      I am so glad you were able to source some wild boar online.

  • Avatar
    Jesse
    August 1, 2019 7:35 am

    Hi,

    We’ve recently been to Tuscany and loved this dish!

    I was wondering, with your recipe, is it 1 liter of wine for the marinade? And is this wine then used in the cooking of the dish, or does this get emptied out and just one cup of wine is used for cooking?

    Thanks!

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      August 1, 2019 9:01 am

      Hi Jesse, thanks for your comment. Re the wine. Yes the lt of red wine is for the marinade. The marinade isn’t used in the cooking. So just discard it. Maybe I should make that clearer in the recipe instructions. For the sauce, there are different versions here in Italy. Some people add some more red wine to the sauce, some use white and some don’t add any more wine at all. They say the meat already has enough wine in it and this will be released into the sauce as the wild boar cooks. I added more red wine to the sauce and loved the result! I hope this helps. Please reach out if you have any other questions! All the best from Verona!

  • Avatar
    Andrew
    July 12, 2019 5:55 pm

    Very glad to find your recipe. My wife and I just returned from honeymoon in Tuscany and loved this dish. Our grocery store ordered wild boar for me but it’s almost double (900g) your recipe. Aside from just using half our boar, would you suggest just doubling the whole recipe? May be a silly question but I didn’t know if doubling the marinade would have an exponential effect. Thanks!

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      July 14, 2019 11:34 pm

      Hi Andrew thank you for your comment. Please excuse the delay in replying but I was in London for a funeral and unable to check my site comments. I think you could double the ingredients and make double the quantity of ragu and then freeze what you don’t use. I would do the same if I was serving a larger number of people. Do let me know how your wild boar ragu turns out. All the best from Verona!

  • Avatar
    Stine Mari
    May 22, 2019 3:31 pm

    Very interesting to see recipes using other types of meat than beef and pork etc. This looks SO good, can’t wait to try it!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 9, 2019 4:00 am

      Thank you! Yes, it makes a nice change!

  • Avatar
    Danielle Wolter
    February 8, 2019 1:49 pm

    i am just a huge sucker for a good ragu. and i love that you used wild boar – such a flavorful meat! This is like ultimate comfort food!

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      February 9, 2019 10:44 am

      Thanks so much Danielle! I love the flavour of wild boar and it makes a fabulous ragu!

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  • Avatar
    Mimi
    April 12, 2018 1:34 pm

    Beautiful. And what memories. My husband and I made a point of having and enjoying wild boar rage when we traveled through Tuscany.

    • admin
      admin
      April 17, 2018 7:43 am

      Thank you so much Mimi! Yes wild boar ragu is such a Tuscan classic. I like it a lot, it’s tasty and healthy! We even have wild boar where we live in Veneto. I see them near our house quite often!

  • Avatar
    Mimi
    April 12, 2018 1:41 pm

    Beautiful. This post brings back memories of enjoying wild boar ragu in Tuscany years ago. Love your recipe.

  • Avatar
    Ramona
    April 11, 2018 3:14 pm

    I used to eat a lot of wild boar as a kid but I haven’t had it in years. You really make me want it now with this divinely looking recipe.
    I do agree with the Italians not adding any chopped herbs it’d ruin its beautiful and unique flavours. I need to look for some wild boar as this recipe will not get out of my head. Absolutely delish and inspirational. Thank you so much for sharing

    • admin
      admin
      April 17, 2018 7:45 am

      Thanks so much dearest Ramona! Glad this recipe has inspired you to try wild boar ragu. I’m sure you’ll love it! Hugs from Verona!

  • Avatar
    Brian Jones
    April 11, 2018 7:27 am

    Wild boar is more common to me than beef, the joys of living in eastern Europe 😉 I love the stuff I know this will be superb, can’t wait to make it!

    • admin
      admin
      April 17, 2018 7:49 am

      Thanks Brian, I do hope you give this ragu a try. If you love wild boar, you’ll def love this! Buon appetito! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Beth
    April 10, 2018 3:23 pm

    I cook with a lot of venison, we love it. I have never tried wild boar though! I am jealous! I would love to try it in this delightful pasta recipe! i must see if I can find some in the states! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      January 6, 2020 4:58 am

      You can find wild boar at some butchers in the US, or order it online 🙂

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