Mr Flavour and I revisited a long-forgotten pastime this week. No, not playing Pogs, or learning New Kids On The Block lyrics from Smash Hits magazine. We went for a drink in an actual bar! Yes, following months of strict lockdown in Spain, some bars and restaurants have reopened their outdoor space at 50% capacity. It felt lovely to socialise around other people, albeit while sat 3 fridges apart, being served by masked Ninja waiters. Coming home tipsy from the pub for the first time in ages gave us an appetite for a serious carb fest. Mr Flavour threw on his Welsh Dragon apron and 3 long hours or so later, we sat down to enjoy a delicious wild boar ragu with tagliatelle. We say wild boar, but it’s more a case of tame pork. Unlike Dominic Cummings, we’re not allowed to travel great distances during lockdown, so we had to make do with what they had at the local supermarket. Here’s our recipe for a decadent Italian favourite, modified to suit everyday shopping. It’s super-easy to make, plus the long cooking time creates plenty of opportunity for opening wine bottles.
1 large white onion
1 above average carrot, or 2 disappointing ones
6 garlic cloves
Red wine (mostly for drinking)
Sprig of rosemary, stolen from a neighbouring garden during exercise time
3 bay leaves
300g wild boar (or pork loin if you don’t happen to live in the woods)
200ml stock (we only had vegetable, so that’ll do)
However much tagliatelle you see fit to eat
Cut the boar/pork loin into chunks. Sear in a hot pan or pot with a little olive oil. Best to use a deep, heavy pot with a lid, like a Le Creuset* if you’ve got a few quid. Remove the browned meat, set aside and battle to remove any burnt bits from the pot, because you certainly can’t be bothered washing it.
Get your carrot and onion, then dice, dice baby. Add more oil to the pot, toss them in and cook until browned. Try your best to finely chop the garlic cloves, making sure you don’t lose patience or fingers in the process. Add to the onions and carrot and cook for a few minutes.
At this point, the inside of your pot will look as burnt as a barbecue sausage, but don’t worry. Alcohol to the rescue! Throw in around half a glass of red wine to deglaze the pot. Don’t forget to deglaze your mouth with more wine too. Add the passata, stock, bay leaves and rosemary. Simmer for as long as it takes to open your second bottle of red.
Add your browned boar/pork chunks to the pot, stir around a bit and cover. Reduce to the lowest heat. The hard work is done. Over the next few hours, time will work its magic and your boar/pork will become beautifully soft. Your only challenge will be staying sober enough to remember you’re cooking dinner. Stir and taste occasionally, adding a splash of water if it starts looking dry. It’ll be ready when you feel it’s ready.
To make the tagliatelle, simply exchange money for a pack of the dried stuff at your local supermarket, then bring home. Boil in a different pot filled with salted water for as long as it tells you to on the back of the packet. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon when al-dente. Make it look pretty in your bowl and drizzle on a little olive oil for good luck.
Fish the bay leaves and rosemary sprig out of your ragu. Add freshly ground black pepper. Taste to see if it needs salt (some stock can be pretty salty). Add salt if needed, being careful not to balls up the last three hours of cooking by making it taste like you’ve swallowed sea water. Spoon a moderate amount of ragu onto the pasta, take a few pictures then pile on a massive portion because it’s very tasty. Serve with parmesan if you’ve got it, plus your third bottle of wine.
We hope you enjoy making this as much as we enjoyed eating it. Although our local restaurants will be open again soon, rest assured we’ll be doing plenty more home cooking, mainly because we can’t translate the menus yet.
*Dear lovely people at Le Creuset, can we have a free pot please? Merci. X