Wild Boar Ragu with Gnocchi
Wild Boar Ragu with Gnocchi
Course: Main

Give the ‘wow’ factor at the dinner table with this impressive dish. Demonstration by Poppy on the Festive Kitchen at the BBC Good Food Winter Show. Find the recipe below!

Serves: 2
Cooks in: Preparation Time: 40 mins, Cooking Time: 4 hours
Difficulty: Hard


For the ragu
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 head of celery, finely chopped
500g de-boned wild boar shoulder meat
4 tbsp olive oil
250ml good red wine or beef stock
2 x 400g tins of peeled plum tomatoes
1 bay leaves
3 gloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

For the gnocchi
250g baked red skin mashed potato
20g parmesan, finely grated
Pinch of ground nutmeg
80g ’00’ flour (pasta flour) + extra for dusting
1 large egg

To finish
50g butter
Crispy sage leaves
50g parmesan, grated


  1. Firstly find the biggest pan you have that will fit in all the boar and other ingredients. Get the boar out of the fridge and leave it to come to room temperature.
  2. To get the soffritto ready. Peel the carrots, peel and half the onions and wash the celery. You can chop the vegetables however you want if they are all fine and the same size. You can use an electric chopper, a mezzaluna (the double handed rocking knife) or chop by hand.
  3. Heavily season the boar with salt and pepper. Get the large pan onto a high heat, once it’s hot like smoking hot, add in the boar and sear on all sides. When it has browned all over, remove from the pan and leave on a plate until later.
  4. On a low-medium heat, add in half of the olive oil and your soffritto mix into the pan. Leave them to cook 5 – 10 mins until golden brown, stirring occasionally to get an even colour.
  5. Once cooked, add in the rest of the olive oil and boar. Give it all a good mix. Deglaze the pan with the red wine or stock. Turn the heat down to low.
  6. Add to the pan the tinned tomatoes and bay leaves. Leave this to simmer away for around 4 hours. This can all be done in a pressure cooker too. After the time, check how the boar is, it should be falling apart when you move it. If not, leave for another hour or two.
  7. Preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Bake off your potatoes for 1 hr until soft and cooked through. Once cooked scoop out of the soft inside and pass through a fine sieve, onto a clean surface, weigh off 250g.
  8. Whilst still hot add in the parmesan, nutmeg and plenty of salt and pepper to the potatoes. Make a well in the centre of this mixture using your hand, keep some flour to the side of you for dusting. Crack the egg into the well and get it all combined by hand and mixed. Once fully combined add in half of your flour to start forming a dough. When it comes together add the other half. As soon as this dough is no longer sticky stop kneading. 
  9. Take ¼ of the dough and put the rest under tea towel so it doesn’t dry up. With the ¼ of dough gently roll into a long even shaped sausage. Take a knife and cut even sized pillows of soft gnocchi about 2 ½ cm long.
  10. Continue this with the rest of your dough, keep the dough and gnocchi pieces covered when not using them to prevent them drying up or sticking. Keep them on a floured board so they don’t stick. In a deep saucepan get some salted water up to the boil.
  11. Once the water is boiling cook the gnocchi off. They are ready when they float to the top, this usually takes around 1-2 mins. Whilst you wait for this you can make the super easy sauce. In a large frying pan on a medium high heat, big enough to fit the gnocchi in, melt the butter.
  12. Once melted add the sage leaves. When the gnocchi are cooked, use a slotted spoon to take them out of the pan and straight into the sage butter.  Cook them until they are getting golden on both sides, just give the pan an occasional toss to prevent any from burning.
  13. Once the gnocchi are golden add in a spoonful of boar ragu, toss together and then serve them up topped with parmesan.