Linguini Bolognese with Wild Boar

I am ready for fall. I am ready to whisk a scarf around my neck  and cook off the steam of simmering squash soups. I am ready to pick apples and smell cinnamon in the air and dress Hula up in the next Fall’s fashions. Yes…I went there.

Not that I’m complaining or anything, of course. I am blessed to say I live blocks away from a gorgeous ocean where usual days are sunny and bright and the normal attire are flip-flops and shorts. I love that. But…I do miss seasons…yes…I do.

Hula has been taking this hot weather especially personal. Her thick coat seems to be like a sweater and the quicker her hair grows during the summer, the more often we have to cut it. Walks around the blocks are followed by big laps of ice cold water and at one point I event put an ice cold pillow on her back just to cool her down. Yes…we all know she’s my baby. I’m sure Hula us ready for cinnamon coated nights too.

Linguini with bolognese came to mind while I was preparing for our meal planning. We’re trying to use what we have on hand and work with that. Ground wild boar, half box of linguini and speck were stocked and a twist to the tradition sounded fun to do. I kind of feared bolognese because the few times I’ve had it, I was disappointed. The meat and sauce separated and the sauce was watery. The bolognese did not stick to the pasta and instead you were eating naked noodles and slopping up the meat sauce with bread…which is not all that bad either, but not exactly what I anticipated.

So in this venture, I wanted to make a sauce that clung to every noodle for its dear life. I wanted the tomatoes and meat to blend together and cook for hours and taste like one cohesive bite. It’s not fair to say that one recipe inspired me or “adapted” because I used a combination of recipes and techniques from my research (Chowhound message boards, for example) and used what I had on hand and what came forth was incredible! A thick and luscious tomato-meat ragu. The meat was wild boar which tastes different than beef…hard to explain in words, noticeable but not overwhelming.

Method:

1) In a food processor, pure onion, celery and carrot to a coarse puree.

2) In a large dutch oven coated with olive oil on medium heat, saute vegetable pure for about 5 minutes until softened. Add chopped garlic an d red pepper flakes. Saute until garlic is lightly brown.

3) Move the mixture to the side of the pot and make room in the middle. Drizzle more oil if needed. Add speck (or pancetta) and cook until lightly brown, turning to cook.

4) Move speck to side and make room in middle and add ground boar. Season with salt and pepper. Use a spatula to break up the meat as it begins to cook. Allow meat to brown for about 5-7 minutes, breaking up and tossing as it cooks.  Add 1tsp oregano and thyme.

5) Slowly add 3/4 cup whole milk into the meat mixture. Allow milk to evaporate. Use spatula to mix meat so milk doesn’t burn. Add 1 cup red wine and allow alcohol to cook off, reducing the wine. Toss mixture together in pot. Add tomato paste and mix well.

6) Add crushed tomatoes and stir everything to combine. Cover and allow to cook on a low simmer for 2 hours.

7) Toss with cooked linguini and top with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Linguini Bolognese with Wild Boar

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chopped Wild Boar
  • 6 oz Speck, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 32 oz can San Marzano crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Few sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved for garnish
  • 1/2 lb linguini

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, pure onion, celery and carrot to a coarse puree.
  2. In a large dutch oven coated with olive oil on medium heat, saute vegetable pure for about 5 minutes until softened. Add chopped garlic an d red pepper flakes. Saute until garlic is lightly brown.
  3. Move the mixture to the side of the pot and make room in the middle. Drizzle more oil if needed. Add speck (or pancetta) and cook until lightly brown, turning to cook.
  4. Move speck to side and make room in middle and add ground boar. Season with salt and pepper. Use a spatula to break up the meat as it begins to cook. Allow meat to brown for about 5-7 minutes, breaking up and tossing as it cooks. Add 1tsp oregano and thyme.
  5. Slowly add 3/4 cup whole milk into the meat mixture. Allow milk to evaporate. Use spatula to mix meat so milk doesn't burn. Add 1 cup red wine and allow alcohol to cook off, reducing the wine. Toss mixture together in pot. Add tomato paste and mix well.
  6. Add crushed tomatoes and stir everything to combine. Cover and allow to cook on a low simmer for 2 hours.
  7. Toss with cooked linguini and top with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
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