Welcome to Fiesta Friday everyone!
I am ridiculously excited about this week’s party, because Angie at The Novice Gardener has asked me to co-host with her! This is my first time co-hosting a link party and I am very nervous but I cannot wait to party with you all and see what amazing offerings everyone shows up with. I am looking forward to visiting and commenting on all your posts, and selecting some to feature next week, so bring on your best recipes!
Fiesta Friday is extra-special for me, because it was the first ever link party I joined, and I happened to be there at the first one too! I was pretty new to blogging (as you’ll tell from my style and pics!) and was only about 5 or 6 posts in when I stumbled across Angie’s site and decided to join in. You can see from that post how many wonderful friendly comments I got straight away. That first Fiesta Friday for me was really when I realised blogging was so much more than just the posts, it was a community filled with wonderful people, and from that moment on, I was hooked! So thanks Angie and all my fellow party guests at that very first FF – I might not have fallen so hard in love with blogging if it wasn’t for all of you!
In fact, nostalgia is a bit of a theme of today’s post. My recipe harks back to the years that I lived in Florence, and all the wonderful Tuscan food I enjoyed and learned to cook there. Far and away my favourite meal was the incredible wild boar pasta which is a speciality of the region, due to the boar that live in the hills surrounding the city. I once caught a glimpse of one out hiking and they are pretty spectacular animals – very far from the domestic pig, and their meat is too, much richer and darker with a very distinctive flavour.
I’m going to share a recipe I’ve devised which tastes exactly like the dish in one of my favourite restaurants in Florence (you can read about my other foodie tips here if you’re ever visiting). Heavy on heady juniper and deep red wine, this is a dish to indulge in – in fact, I first made it on Valentine’s Day this year. Getting your hands on wild boar meat can often be tricky – easy enough in Tuscany, just visit the local butcher, but here in the UK there are farms specialising in ‘exotic’ meats like this. We buy ours here. I find that the longer and slower you can cook your boar, the better it will be. The cooking time on this dish may seem excessive, but trust me, the end results are so worth it, and it only really requires a check and a stir every so often.
The pasta that always accompanies cinghiale (wild boar in Italian) is papardelle, thick strips of pasta like wide tagliatelle. You cannot buy papardelle in the UK easily, so I cheated. I bought some fresh lasagne sheets and cut them into strips about 1.5cm thick. You could also use tagliatelle or any other shape of pasta of course, it doesn’t alter the taste, but I do agree with the Italians that the choice of shape does affect how well a particular sauce adheres to the pasta, and the chunky nature of this sauce goes well with the thicker strips.
Right, rambling over, on with the recipe!
Tuscan Wild Boar Papardelle Pasta
- 500g wild boar meat, cubed into half inch chunks
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 2 sticks celery, finely diced
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 sprigs of rosemary
- 10 juniper berries, crushed
- ½ cup of tomato pureé
- ½ bottle of italian red wine (or any red wine really, but it’s nice to keep it in the family, so to speak!)
- Preheat your oven at 100°C (200°F) (fan-assisted).
- In a lidded, oven-proof casserole dish, add a glug of olive oil, heat, and begin to sweat the onion, carrot and celery. Add a dash of salt.
- When the moisture is almost gone, add the boar meat and brown on all sides.
- Stir in the tomato pureé and garlic, and then pour in the red wine. The liquid should just cover all the meat and vegetables – if it doesn’t, add some water until it does.
- Stir in the rosemary and juniper berries and a good grind of black pepper. If you dislike rosemary needles in your food, put them in a small bit of wrapped gauze into the dish. The flavour can still escape, but no needles!
- Bring to the boil on the hob. Once boiling, stir well, put the lid on, and remove to the oven.
- Cook for 5 hours, checking and stirring every 30 minutes or so. By hour 3 the meat should be completely cooked and becoming very tender. If not, turn up your oven a little (to 140°C say). When ready, the vegetables should have almost melted in the thickened sauce and the meat will fall apart to the touch.
- Cook your pasta to taste, and stir through the sauce.
- Top with grated parmesan, and enjoy!
If you give this recipe a try, I would really love to hear what you thought about it. The recipe would work equally well with beef if boar is not easily available, but I would add lots of extra pepper and rather less juniper, since the latter really goes with the gamey taste of the boar.
So, now on with the party!
I am sure you all know the rules, but just to recap, you can join the party by clicking the badge below and adding your post to the link up. Please also add a link in your post back to Angie’s post and to this post so we both know you’ve joined the party and can come and enjoy your party offering. Please tag your post with Fiesta Friday too, so others can find it in searches. In order for your post to be eligible for featuring at next week’s party, you need to ensure you follow the guidelines.
The main thing is for everyone to have fun! If you are new to this I cannot emphasise enough what a great community of welcoming people you’re about to find, so make sure you stay at the party a while and look around and meet some lovely new faces, check out their posts and leave some comments. I love getting comments and I’m sure we all do, and it really makes this party the fantastic social event it is, so comment away people, and enjoy! Click the button below to join in.
I’d love for you to share my recipe on social media if you like the sound of it! Feel free to pin, Facebook, tumblr, anything you like!
If anyone is interested in the beautiful cookbook in my first image, it is I Love Toscana by the wonderful Giulia Scarpaleggia, who blogs over at Juls’ Kitchen. Giulia and her wonderful family introduced me to so much Tuscan cuisine (and her Nonna even taught me how to handmake pasta!), and her blog was my first glimpse into the blogging world and I am so proud of how enormously successful she is. I have no doubt it is because her writing is as stunning as her photography and recipes – each dish has a story behind it and she has such a way with words that browsing her posts for a few moments can almost transport you to the rolling, olive-grove covered hills of Colle Val d’Elsa. I highly recommend a read.