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Dec 15, 2009 10:18 AM

Ragu recipe ideas for Gnocchi al Cinghiale holiday meal

Every year we change up our Christmas feast and make something we've never had before. This year my husband found this description for an Italian dish: Gnocchi al Cinghiale
Fresh house-made potato gnocchi with slowly braised wild boar and a sweet and sour tomato ragu.

I'm sure I can find loads of gnocchi recipes to work with, and I've got the wild boar on order. What I'm wondering is what "sweet and sour tomato ragu" means in this context? I know the basic concept is flavorful things that you braise the meat low and slow in, pull the meat, shred a bit, strain the ragu, then serve them together with the (in this case) gnocchi.

It's the "sweet and sour" idea I'm not sure how to search for, exactly. Anyone have ideas what they mean by that? My husband did find this one:, but that seems to fail on the "sweet and sour" idea. I am also not especially -married- to the idea of sweet and sour as described above. My husband tends to prefer spicy to sweet sauces.

Just looking for input/thoughts for either the ragu or the gnocchi. :) We do prefer fluffy gnocchi to the denser ones. :) Ideas for preferred recipes on that front would be nice, too. :


Thanks everyone! :)

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  1. If you're willing to make homemade gnocchi, you're a braver soul than I.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Perilagu Khan

      It gives me great satisfaction to take on big jobs like this for our holiday feast. :) I've made tamales from scratch, too. ;)

    2. I like Lydia's gnocchi. One of the key to making it fluffy is to gently shred the potatoes. If you don't have a ricer, a grater works but it takes teflon hands on those hot potatoes (which is what I do).

      Have you seen this recipe/comments for wild boar ragu that discusses the sweet and sour element?

      4 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        Hadn't had a good moment to search yet, but thanks for the links, I'm looking them over! :)

        1. re: chowser

          Oo these are great links, thanks so much! I think I'll use the ragu recipe here, I like that it uses less wine than the other one I'd found elsewhere. Wonder if I could substitute something else for the wine. We don't much like alcohol flavors in our food, and we're not supposed to have it anyway because of surgery on our stomachs. I'm willing to use it, though, if it's really necessary to the dish. Any thoughts on that?

          1. re: Morganna

            Maybe a CH could address the wine issue. I've done w/out wine and don't like the final product as much, even when I've used different substitutes like a little red wine vinegar and stock. That said, though, since you don't like the flavor of alcohol, I think you might like the version better w/ some red wine vinegar and more stock. I have made ragu w/out red wine and people liked it. I just didn't like it as much as with the wine. I've never tried the wild boar, though, and have no idea how that might affect it because it will be a stronger taste.

            1. re: chowser

              Yeah, I'm inclined to follow the recipe strictly, usually do the first time I make something. Once I've tasted the original, I have a better idea what I can confidently tweak. :)

        2. Oh, do I have a recipe for you! Check this out!

          This ragu was inspired by a local pig farmer who raises heritage pigs, and by a local chef where this ragu recipe was inspired from.
          My best advise is to get the best pork you can-one that's been eating and foraging in the wild so that the meat is deeply flavored. I swear, I can taste the nuts that little piggy at in the woods!

          1. My foodie best friend and I are making Wild Boar Ragu for Christmas dinner too! We're not sure yet if we're gonna do gnocchi or pappardelle with it though. :-)

            Good luck!