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32 responses to “Wild Boar Bolognese Sauce”

  1. Florian

    It looks delicious, but it seems like a lot of nutmeg!

  2. Dan

    Hi Hank I have a general question when using something like ground venison in your recipes. Do you assume some amount of fat in the venison. I grind my own venison from deer I have shot and it is extremely lean. When you describe using ground game in a recipe is there pork fat or some other fat added into the meat at some standard ratio? I have always had trouble reconciling the use of farm raised pork fat in my “clean” wild meat.

  3. Ashley

    This looks fantastic. I am always looking for wild boar recipes. Can’t wait to try it.

  4. Rachel Willen@FoodFix

    You had me on “no garlic”. I don’t do well with garlic and since I’ve been trying to avoid it I’ve noticed how it seems to be in everything! And in tiny little minces that you can avoid when eating! I’m going to try this your way…perhaps not with boar but some pancetta…and beef and veal.

  5. Marty J

    I have made it with Elk. Very similar recipe – with milk. I have always wondered about the origin of that ingredient in this sauce.

  6. deana

    I had something like this a million years ago in a little village in the woods in northern Italy… I still remember it and the earthy papardelle they served with it. It rocked my world and I can’t wait to try the recipe… many thanks.

  7. Tim

    I do a version of this and I always finely chop up a couple of chicken livers and add in with whatever meat I am using. I find this gives it a richness like no other.


  8. The Italian Dish

    Gosh darn, Hank – I’m totally impressed. Your observations about the tomato in particular, were spot on. What a great post! Loved the bolognese with wild boar – just like a true Tuscan.

  9. Federico

    Hank, I hate to say but I will have to break your thumbs. You are letting me down, big time! It’s called ragù, not bolognese. Once upon a time I though it was possible to educate people about this trivial point. Unfortunately it turns out the trivial point is not that trivial because people just don’t wanna learn. Apparently force is needed to help the learning process.

    Let’s also keep the frikkin’ tuscans out of it as well, the pox on their house. The sorry asses ain’t got a horse in this race.

  10. Mark Preston

    Huhhhh . . . where to begin Hank. Congrats on a brilliant post on this “sauce”. My Italian friend also avers “no” to the garlic. For myself, I cannot get to where I’m completely convinced anyone “knows” this recipe, but the website link requested at this LEAVE COMMENT area has my link to Ragù alla Bolognese – What is “Meat Sauce”? Maybe we should combine forces for this ragù.

  11. michael

    i love the recipe from mediterranean diet cookbook (nancy harmon jenkins)–mita’s tuscan sugo. that one, and marcella hazan’s bolognese, set the bar for all meat sauces, though they’re quite different. i love the addition of milk (marcella does it; nancy doesn’t).

    every year we cook up a bunch of ducks (domestic) and i make a hand-chopped sugo from duck meat–all the tasty bits left after butchering for confit, smoked breasts, etc. i always add the livers and hearts, too. hand chopped meat has a wonderful texture.

  12. Ian


    For years I’ve been wanting to make one with duck/goose, just add some pork fat?, or cut it with pork/beef? My duckeroni I use 30%ish very fatty pork, any base direction would be wonderful.

    Very best,


  13. michael

    ian, i just used the dark meat of the duck, the stuff near the joints. that plus the liver, plus milk… made an absolutely outstanding sugo. duck is fatty. i don’t think there’s a reason to use additional fat.

  14. Ian

    Thanks Michael, I should have clarified, this is wild duck, which is quite lean, especially compared to domestic. A super fatty wild duck might have 1/4″ of fat. Since I shot quite a number in a year, I tend to breast them out, and save the more shot up ones for sausage etc where I cut out the bad spots.

  15. Karen

    love bolognese. Did one for my blog too and now totally addicted 🙂 Did add the livers to mine…need no excuse to throw liver in things, love the stuff !

  16. Sean

    I’m very impressed with myself that I actually make (5 yrs and going) the almost exact bolganese that you’ve written. I add 1cup of spanish olives while cooking.
    Golf clap

    I also make a killer wild boar lasagna with this recipe except i add a béchamel sauce instead of cheese. I top it off with Parmasean at the end after baking.

  17. We Are Never Full

    thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Hank for telling it like it is w/ Bolognese sauce. This is a dish with rules b/c of it’s history. The coolest thing about Bolognese sauce, to me, is the dish isn’t just regional to Italy (Emilia Romagna) but it’s almost regional within BOLOGNA itself! There are different tweaks to the dish depending on the family. Some have almost no tomato sauce (sometimes just a small squeeze of tomato paste at the very beginning which gets browned). like you mentioned, some use liver (which we’ve tried before and it is GOOD). some add cream. i LOVE that you used the wild boar (which is so prevalent on menus in Italy). i wish we could get that meat more easily here in the states. awesome dish – and true to the “rules”.

  18. Tamsin Harriman

    I made this last weekend and it was delicious! Rich and meaty. I used a combination of ground pork, beef, and veal. I didn’t have dried porcini so I used fresh button mushrooms. That probably took away some depth of flavor but it was still very good. Like you, I love nutmeg – I added a lot! 🙂

  19. Andrew

    Really good recipe. Did ours with pork, venison, and venison liver.

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  21. Lance

    I use Cocoa Powder in place of nutmeg. To get the fat back use Pancetta, lots of it. My Wild Boar Bolognese rocks

  22. Angela

    I just had a craving for bolognese sauce, sadly don’t have any boar meat, but am de-frosting some minced pork instead. Will follow your recipe which looks very authentic to me tomorrow!

  23. Rob


    Just made this dish with javelina that I shot on a trip to Marfa, Texas. Outstanding recipe! Javelina isn’t as bad as its reputation, but it definitely takes a little bit of work to make it taste good, and this was an excellent use for it.


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  25. Christina Bollinger

    Hi Hank,

    Do you have your duck fat vinaigrette recipe somewhere as well?

  26. Aliasak

    Hi Hank, is the ground meat browned before adding to the vegetables and tomato sauce?

  27. Coert

    I disagree on browning the veggies. Brown them! Brown tastes good!

  28. carmine

    Hey team we had this in Tuscany one night near Greve and it was so unbelievably good that I found another nearby restaurant wnd did a repeat. Wild boar, wild Porcini, those sweet Italian onions and everything else you mentioned, no garlic. I dream of going back one day for a second repeat of the two nights dinners.

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