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Wild boar bolognese with rigatoni pasta in white dish on red towel with crushed red pepper in background.

Wild Boar Bolognese Ragu with Pasta

Wine-soaked Wild Boar Bolognese Ragu is rich, flavorful, aromatic and full of meaty deliciousness! Wild boar shoulder is bathed in a red wine-based marinade before being simmered with lots of aromatics until its fall-apart tender, then tossed with your favorite pasta. It’s the ultimate Sunday or special occasion meal.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Marinating Time: 12 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings


For the Marinade:

  • 1 bottle dry red wine such as Chianti
  • cup red wine vinegar
  • 2-4 sprigs rosemary
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed

For the Ragu:

  • pounds boneless wild boar shoulder, most fat removed, 3” chunks, rinsed and patted dry
  • Pinch salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil or other neutral oil for searing
  • 3 cups sliced yellow onions
  • 2 cups small diced celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 2 cups small diced carrot (about 1 medium carrot)
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs rosemary (stems discarded)
  • ½ crushed red pepper
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups reserved, strained marinade, from above
  • 2 cups beef broth, (preferably low- or no-sodium)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • cups whole milk

For the Pasta:

  • 1 pound pasta + salt for pasta water
  • 3-4 cups wild boar ragu
  • cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 Tbsp butter at room temperature (optional)
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  • Gather and prep all ingredients as noted above. Rinse and pat the wild boar pieces dry with a paper towel.
    (Please see the section above in the blog post for Step-By-Step instructions with photos.)
    3½ pounds boneless wild boar shoulder,
  • Make the marinade by whisking all the ingredients together in a large, nonreactive bowl. Then, submerge the wild boar pieces in the marinade, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid, and marinate for 12 to 24 hours.
    1 bottle dry red wine, ⅓ cup red wine vinegar, 2-4 sprigs rosemary, 10 black peppercorns, 5 cloves garlic,
  • When done marinating, remove the boar pieces and pat them dry. Sprinkle them liberally with salt and black pepper. Strain the marinade and reserve it for the ragu. Discard the strained items.
    Pinch salt and black pepper
  • Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium high heat. Carefully add as many wild boar pieces as will fit on the surface of the pot and sear them on multiple sides until brown, about 3 minutes per side. (It may be difficult to get a proper sear as the meat is full of marinade, but do the best you can.) Do this in batches and do not overcrowd the pot. Remove the meat to a plate once seared and set aside.
    ¼ cup olive oil
  • Add the onions, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary leaves and crushed red pepper to the pot and stir to coat with the fat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the vegetables have mostly softened, about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    3 cups sliced yellow onions, 2 cups small diced celery, 2 cups small diced carrot, 6 cloves garlic,, Leaves from 2 sprigs rosemary, ½ crushed red pepper
  • Move the veggies over to one side of the pot and add the tomato paste. Caramelize it for 1 to 2 minutes.
    2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • Pour in the reserved, strained marinade and deglaze the pan, scraping up all the browned bits. Let this simmer and reduce by about 1/3.
    2 cups reserved, strained marinade,
  • Add the broth, fresh and dried herbs, salt and black pepper and stir until all ingredients are well-combined.
    2 cups beef broth,, 3 bay leaves, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper
  • Carefully return the reserved wild boar to the pot, along with any accumulated juices, nestling the pieces in the broth and vegetables. Increase the heat to medium, cover and bring the mixture to a rolling simmer. Then, immediately turn the heat down to medium-low to achieve a low simmer and cover the pot, leaving it slightly ajar. Let the mixture simmer about 3 to 4 hours or until the meat is fork tender and able to be shredded very easily. Stir the mixture every 30 minutes, turning the meat pieces over. If necessary, add additional broth.
  • (Alternatively, cook the meat in a 300°F preheated oven, covered with foil.)
  • Once the meat is tender, transfer it to a dish to pull/shred (or do it right in the pot.) Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  • While you are breaking down the boar pieces, pour milk into sauce and let it simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes to create a thicker sauce. Return the meat pieces to the simmering sauce. After the sauce has simmered with the milk for about 30 minutes, it should be done.
    1½ cups whole milk
  • At this point, you can either use the ragu immediately store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days or freezer for up to three months. (I generally make this sauce 2 to 3 days in advance of when I am serving it. The flavors develop during this time.)
  • When ready to serve, bring a large pot of water to a boil and reheat the ragu in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
    3-4 cups wild boar ragu
  • Add salt, then the pasta, to the boiling water, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the package directions, or about 2 minutes before you think it is al dente. Be sure to reserve at least 1 cup of the starchy pasta water.
    1 pound pasta
  • Transfer the cooked pasta to the pan with the ragu, increase the heat to medium and toss well. Allow the pasta to finish cooking in the wonderful flavors of the sauce. Add pasta water for additional moisture, about ½ cup at a time. (You can also add some pasta water to the sauce before the pasta is added, if moisture is needed.)
  • Once the pasta is al dente, remove the pan from the heat. Then gently stir in the parmigiano cheese and butter and drizzle with a good glug of extra virgin olive oil. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately. Buon Appetito!
    ⅓ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 2 Tbsp butter, Extra virgin olive oil


  • The above recipe makes approximately 10 cups wild boar ragu, which is enough to dress about 2 to 3 pounds pasta.
  • Before marinating, trim off any excess fat from the boar. Wild boar fat can have a strong, gamey flavor that some people find unpleasant. By trimming it away, you can ensure the taste of the meat shines through without being overpowered. Leaving a small amount of fat can help keep the meat moist during cooking.
  • Older boar, which has tougher meat, will take longer to cook than younger boar. The times presented here are a guideline and the boar must be cooked until it is fork-tender.
  • If you are only making one pound pasta, I suggest freezing the remaining ragu in an airtight container for up to three months. This way, you can have a delicious wild boar ragu when desired any night of the week! Defrost the ragu in the refrigerator when ready to enjoy. Then, reheat it in a covered skillet, thinned with a little bit of water as needed to reach desired consistency.
  • You can halve the above recipe for a smaller yield.
  • This ragu works well with all sorts of short and long shapes of pasta. Some of my favorites to use in this recipe are pappardelle, fettuccine, rigatoni, gnocchi, ziti, penne rigate and paccheri.
  • The butter is “mounted” on the finished pasta at the end for additional richness and silkiness. This is optional and can be left out.
Recipe by Mangia With Michele. Please visit my site for more great cooking inspiration!
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