Wild boar, or “cinghiale” is commonly regarded as the unofficial mascot of Tuscany, causing mischief in the local vineyards scattered around the coastal region of Maremma. Eaten and revered in equal measure, Tuscans adore this rich meat - so much so, one of the region’s most iconic dishes, pici ai cinghiale, showcases tender wild boar.
Our sumptuous ragu sees the wild boar slowly simmered in a traditional bath of red wine, fragrant juniper berries and tomato until rich and tender. We layer this meaty ragù between fresh lasagne sheets and creamy besciamella sauce, for a luxuriant and gamey twist on the classic Roman dish.
Our wild boar lasagne recipe
Prep Time: 6hrs+
Cooking Time: 5 hrs
Calories per serving: 715kcal
For the wild boar ragù
- 1 kilo wild boar meat (preferably shoulder meat), cubed.
- 750ml red wine
- 400ml beef stock
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 stick celery, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 10g juniper berries
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the lasagne
- 400g fresh lasagne sheets
- 75g Parmigiano Reggiano to sprinkle over each layer (don’t forget the top)
For the bèchamel sauce
- 600 ml of milk
- 60g plain flour
- 60g butter
- Generous grating of nutmeg
- Salt and black pepper to season
To make the wild boar ragù
- Roughly cube the boar meat, and place in a large bowl, before covering with red wine. Leave the mixture to marinate for at least six hours (though overnight is best).
- Once the meat is ready, add 1tbsp olive oil to a casserole dish over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the diced onion, carrot and celery, and sweat the mixture until soft. Add the garlic, and continue to fry until cooked.
- Separate the meat from the marinade, and add to the pot. Brown the meat, allowing it to fry for around five minutes on all sides.
- Add the tomato puree, and combine, before deglazing the pan with around half of the wine used for marinating. Once the alcohol has cooked off, add the stock and aromatics (bay leaves, thyme, and juniper berries).
- Stir until well-mixed, before covering with a lid. Reduce the heat to low, and allow to simmer and thicken for around 4 hours. Stir occasionally to avoid any sticking.
Chef’s tip: While your ragù is simmering, prep your fresh lasagne sheets, following the simple lasagne recipe in the above link.
- After four hours or so, check your ragu. The wild boar should have broken down to tender shreds, and the sauce should have reduced significantly. At this point, fish out the larger sprigs of thyme and bay leaf, and remove the pot from the heat.
To make your béchamel
- While your ragù is cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan, before adding an equal amount of flour. Whisk until combined and cook on low heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk, mixing continuously until thickened. Ensure to add only a splash of milk at a time, as adding too much will result in unwanted lumps. Season with nutmeg, salt and black pepper to taste, and set aside.
To finish off your lasagne
- To assemble your lasagne, spoon a thin layer of the boar ragù on the bottom of a standard-sized baking dish. Top this with a layer of your fresh lasagne sheets. Follow this with another, slightly thicker layer of ragù using the back of the spoon to push it right to the edge of the baking dish. Follow with a layer of béchamel. Sprinkle over a generous handful of grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Repeat these steps (pasta, ragù, béchamel, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese) to use up both sauces and pasta. There should be around 5 layers of pasta and the top should be sprinkled with Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Cook the lasagne for around 40 minutes. Cover your dish with aluminium foil for the first 10-15 mins of baking time, to ensure that the lasagne doesn't dry out in the oven.
- Remove from the oven and leave to stand for at least 5 minutes. To serve, slice into equal-sized portions and finish with freshly shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. Buon appetito.
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