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11-2-11 excelllent, yummy

I love cinghiale sauce—a thick, savory meat sauce made with wild boar and a hint of clove. Wild boar is not readily available in my upstate New York supermarket, so here's an unusual fake-out. Serve the pasta with braised kale or a spinach salad. The sauce freezes well, so make a double batch.

Salt and pepper
1 pound rigatoni pasta or broken curly-edge lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 pound ground beef
1 small carrot, finely chopped or grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 sprigs thyme, stems discarded and leaves finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 pinches ground cloves or allspice
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine (eyeball it)
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.

While the pasta is working, in a dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the pork and beef and cook, stirring, until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the carrot, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, cocoa and cloves; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste for 1 minute, then stir in the wine. Stir in the chicken stock and milk, lower the heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.

Stir the pasta into the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Stir in the cheese to coat. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls.

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