Pappardelle With Braised Pork Ragù

pappardelle with braised pork

Pappardelle With Braised Pork Ragù is very much like a pasta dish you will find in Italy. If you have traveled to Tuscany, more than likely you had pappardelle al cinghiale, a wide pasta served with a rich sauce of wild boar, tomatoes and red wine. While you will find this much loved dish served all year in Tuscany and some other regions of Italy at both local trattorias and fine dining establishments, it is most popular during the fall hunting season and into the winter.

Braised Pork Ragù With Pappardelle Pasta

Since I don’t had access to wild boar in our small seaside town in Florida, although it can be ordered online from suppliers such as D’Artagnan, I made my version of this classic Tuscan recipe with pork shoulder which is also known as pork butt or Boston butt depending on where you live.

The best way to cook either wild boar or the pork shoulder is by slowly braising the meat in wine and stock in the oven or on the stove top until it is tender. It can also be prepared in a slow cooker and I’ve given directions for it as well.

Pappardelle With Braised Pork Ragù

Serves 6 to 8, generously

  • 1 boneless pork shoulder also known as pork butt or Boston butt, fat trimmed if necessary (approx. 3 – 4 lb.)
  • 1/2 tsp. each of salt, freshly ground black pepper, onion powder and garlic powder
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 c. red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 c. beef or chicken stock, or as needed
  • 1 large can whole Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand
  • 4 oz. of dried pappardelle per person, cooked according to package directions
  • Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, optional
  • Fresh chopped parsley or basil, optional for a garnish

Heat the oil in a large heavy bottom Dutch oven or oven proof pot over medium high heat. Season the meat with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder, add to the pot and brown on all sides. Remove the meat to a plate. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and cook a minute more. Add the wine, scrape the bottom to loosen the browned bits and let cook until reduced by half. Add the herbs, stock and tomatoes. Add the meat back to the pot, it should be immersed in the braising liquid, if not add a little more stock or water, if necessary. Lower the heat, cover the pot and cook at a gentle simmer for about three and a half to four hours, stirring now and then. If the sauce is gets dry, add a little stock or water. If the sauce is a little too thin, crack the lid a little for the last 30 minutes of cooking. The meat is done when it is fork tender.

Remove the meat from the sauce and let cool enough to handle. Pull the pork apart with a fork, discarding any fat. Skim any accumulated fat from the sauce, remove the bay leaf and sprigs of herbs and return the pork to the sauce and reheat.

When ready to serve your meal, cook the pasta according to directions on the box. When done, save about a cup of the water and drain the pasta and then return it to the pot. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss carefully. If it seems too dry, add some of the reserved pasta water. Serve, topped with cheese and parsley or basil, if desired.  Any additional sauce can be served on the side.

Optional Slow Cooker Instructions: Place onions and garlic in the bottom of a slow cooker. Season the pork with the spices. Heat oil in a sauté pan and sear the pork on all sides.  Place pork on the bed of onions in the slow cooker. Deglaze the sauté pan with the wine, pour over the pork, then add the remaining ingredients. Cover with lid and start the slow cooker. It will probably take 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low, depending on your slow cooker and the size of the pork. When done, it should be tender enough to pull apart with a fork.

Recipe Notes:

  • The meat sauce can be braised on the stove top, in the oven at 350 degrees or in a slow cooker. The time will vary on the method used but you will know the meat is done when you can pull it apart with a fork.
  • The sauce can be prepared with white wine, if you prefer.
  • If you have access to wild boar, use it in place of the pork. If so, the cooking time may be longer.
  • If you would like, additional seasonings such as oregano, basil, and sage can be added as well as chopped carrots or celery.
  • The meat sauce can be prepared a couple of days in advance and refrigerated.
  • The dish can also be made with beef, lamb or venison. Adjust times as necessary.
  • The pork can also be served with another thick pasta, polenta or even mashed potatoes.
Pappardelle With Braised Pork Ragù


This classic Tuscan pasta dish is perfect anytime of the year but it is especially good in the fall and winter. Like most meats that are braised, the longer this dish is simmered, the better the flavor. This is one of those recipes that seems to get better after it sits so it is perfect for when you want to cook a meal for friends. The braised pork ragù can be made a day or two in advance, refrigerated then reheated right before you cook the pasta for your guests…perfect no hassle entertaining.



Posted by

I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

164 thoughts on “Pappardelle With Braised Pork Ragù

  1. Hi Karen – Happy New Year. And what a way to start the year with this beautiful pasta dish. I actually found wild boar sausage at a specialty market here in Denver a couple years ago. It was very good. With that said, I’d love ot make this dish and soon.Bolognese is also on my list – we made both in Culinary School.

    1. Thank you Lea Ann, for your kind words. It sounds like you may have access to the wild boar but if not, using a pork shoulder gets good results that are similar.

    1. Thank you Mad Dog, I’m happy you like how I prepared this dish. I’ve always like wild boar and thought this produced a similar flavor.

    1. Thank you for your compliment Boleyn, I’m glad you like the recipe. Yes, you really need a pork butt for this recipe…lean pork just won’t do.

    1. Thank you Amanda, I do hope you will enjoy the pappardelle with the pork ragu. I think you will enjoy the flavor the red wine gives to the pork.

  2. We had a pork butt for New Years. Have leftovers so may pair it with pappardelle (my favorite pasta). Your preparation looks tasty. Happy New Year Karen.

    1. Thank you for your compliment Larry. I’ve had wild boar both here in the states and in Europe and find it delicious. It really doesn’t have a strong taste, I think it is their diet.

  3. Great dish! I make this sometimes (well, a similar recipe, not EXACTLY this!), and really enjoy it. I go back and forth between using whole tomatoes that I crush myself, and already crushed canned tomatoes. The whole ones are probably better — better quality tomatoes, I think, although it depends on the brand of tomatoes, too. Anyway, this looks wonderful — thanks.

    1. Thank you John, for your compliment. I agree with you, I think the quality of the tomato usually is better when you buy whole and then crush yourself although it is definitely a messy little job. 🙂

  4. I do pulled pork, shoulder or butt, quite often but I really like the looks of this recipe, soon to be tried. I will serve it to our friends….she is Italian from Rhode Island and he is English but with deep roots it Rhode Island. He loves Italian food. Thanks

  5. I have been to Italy a couple of times, but I have never had this lovely dish. I love slow cooking stews and I am at this very moment cooking a beef goulash, so this pappardelle sounds like something I would enjoy cooking and eating. Thanks for sharing it with us. 👍

  6. I had this delicious pasta dish when my husband and I visited northern Italy . Thanks for giving us the recipe to make it at home.

  7. Karen – I love this dish! And love the recipe – I’m a total fan of braising, slow-cooking these cuts of meat that make such a luscious dish! Totally perfect this time of year. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Hi Amelia, Yes we do indeed have wild boar in Florida and I’ve had it barbecued before. Unfortunately I don’t know anyone who hunts it in this area. I agree with you, I like pork better than beef in this dish.

  8. *smile* Stovetop with carrot and celery . . .possibly using mutton or even kangaroo to get depth of flavour . . . . oregano to marry with the thyme . . . any of the flat or squiggly noodles, homemade if have the time . . . luvverly 🙂 ! enjoy your yourself and tell us about it . . . Eha

    1. A kangaroo version…now that would be different, Eha. 😀 I’m thinking it might be too lean for a ragu. Now lamb, that would indeed be a flavorful dish as well.

  9. I’m very excited to give your recipe a try. I happen to have a pork shoulder in the freezer so I just need the pasta.

    We’ve had pork nachos in Asheville several times at one of our fave restaurants. I’m always interested in new (to me) and interesting ways to use it. I’ve never had wild boar…sounds, hmmmmmm…interesting! ;-D


  10. Once again you’ve provided a hearty but elegant meal that I would love to share with my family, Karen. I have shared before that I cook a lot for my son-in-law, and both my daughter and his mother don’t like to cook pork, which he loves, so every time you post a good recipe with pork I pay attention! LOL! I am looking forward to making this tasty dish! Thank you!

    1. Hi Debra, I’m always happy when I hear that you like one of my recipes and want to share it with your family. I appreciate your kind words, and I thank you!

    1. Thank you Conor, It does seem like a dish you would enjoy. Perfect to give you energy for one of your biking adventures. Thank you for your wish, the same to you as well. 🙂

    1. Hi Tandy, Yes certain dishes that I make remind me of our travels as well. Pappardelle and pork ragu definitely brings back memories of our travels in Italy.

  11. Boar! We have indeed tried pappardelle al cinghiale on several occasions, and it’s fantastic. As you noted, thought, boar is a bit difficult to find without ordering it online. This version using pork sounds excellent. You’ve got my mouth watering for pasta…and it’s only 8am here! 🙂

    1. Hi David, I think most of us foodies who have traveled to Italy have had a version of this dish. The pork butt works well for those that don’t want to special order the wild boar. I appreciate your nice compliment, thank you.

  12. I agree with you, Karen – this is good any time of the year. I can get wild boar at a local butcher but it has been frozen, and often for a long time. I would much rather have your version with the pork shoulder! In fact, I think I will make it this coming weekend. It is a beauty!

    1. Hi David, I’m sure any wild boar that I found in our area would be the same. We thought the pork butt worked great in this recipe. I hope you enjoy it if you get the opportunity to make it…just without garlic. 🙂

  13. I’ve never had this in Italy, so clearly I need to go back! This pork version sounds amazing and Pappardelle has always been my favorite pasta. I’m in!

    1. Hi Valentina, Going back to Italy because you haven’t had this dish…that would work for me. 😀 Thank you for your compliment and perhaps dust off that passport.

    1. Hi Diane, Yes, a slow cooker works very well for this recipe. I had sold mine when we moved to Florida but keep thinking about getting a new one.

    1. Sounds like we have the same tastes Heather. Every time I’ve had wild boar, I’ve enjoyed it. I’m glad that you like the recipe, thank you.

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment Darryl. Yes, East Texas has their fair share of feral pigs as does certain areas of Florida. It is just finding a hunter who will share some of his bounty. 😀

  14. As a matter of fact we did have pappardelle al cinghiale whilst in Radda and it was fabulous. Slow cooked and delicious. Your braised pork ragu looks absolutely stunning and so glad you included directions for slow cooker as that is really the way to go if you are at work all day. Take care

    1. Hi Bobbi, Definitely use a slow cooker, it makes for a very easy meal. Your mention of Radda brings back pleasant memories for me as well. We rented a villa there with friends as I had friends that lived there.

  15. This was one of my favorite dishes when we visited Italy and I was sad to find how hard it is to find wild boar when we got back to the US. I’m going to seek some out to try this recipe, Karen. It looks absolutely delicious!

    1. Hi Marissa, I think you will find that the pork shoulder makes a good substitute…I hope you will enjoy the recipe. I’m glad this post brought back memories of your travels to Italy.

    1. Happy New Year to you as well Thao. Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. I’m happy to know that you like the recipe and that it reminded you of your time spent in Tuscany. 🙂

  16. we are not pork fans in this household but that dish does look very tasty! i don’t think i’ve ever seen wild boar for sale here in australia. cheers sherry

  17. Hi Karen – I love that you can make this dish ahead – many thanks for the slow cooker directions. I love making things in my slow cooker. I don’t have any wild boar around here either, probably the closest we’ve got is a fisher cat in our NH woods. But we can definitely find the pork at the grocery store and this will make a great gourmet meal my boys will all love. Thank you so much and Happy New Year!!!

    1. Thank you Allie, I do think your family would really enjoy this dish. With a busy schedule, the slow cooker will definitely work for you. Oh and those fisher cats, they are nasty critters aren’t they.

  18. This sounds delicious, I love pappardelle and bet it’s great with the pork. Going to buy a pork shoulder soon and try it.

  19. This is exactly the type of comfort food that my husband adores. I love dishes that can be made ahead and the flavours just get better, it takes the pressure off if entertaining. Then you can focus on something else to make the meal wonderful, like homemade bread or noodles!

    1. This truly is a comfort dish Eva. I’m like you when I invite friends over for dinner, I want to have something that I can prepare ahead…it takes the hassle out of entertaining.

  20. Pasta is my absolute favorite. On one of our Foodie Adventures we did a dish very similar and like you, I had to substitute for wild boar when making it at home.

    1. Hi Linda, It is always fun trying to recreate something we have had during our travels. Many times that requires substitutions but I think they work out well, don’t you.

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment Laura. I have not ordered from D’Artagnan but have bought many of their products from markets when we lived in New England…they are excellent. I think you would be happy with anything you ordered from them.

  21. That looks delicious! We had a four-day pork roast the other day (thanks to my talented husband.) Instead of a pasta delivery system, I went with nachos and mmmm…

    1. Hi Plumdirt, One nice thing about cooking a pork shoulder is that it does provide for several meals. Who doesn’t like nachos, you could definitely use some of this ragu for making them.

  22. Yum….My husband an I have wonderful memories of ‘porky’ treats in Tuscany. One hot day in Siena my husband had the largest Pork Roll either of us had ever seen 😊. I think this ragu would go perfectly with my home made pappardelle…I just might to wait for the Sydney heat-wave to abate!

    1. i Kathryn, I’m glad this post brought back nice memories of your time spent in Tuscany. Sounds like your husband had a porchetta sandwich…they are great. I hope you enjoy the recipe once your weather has turned a little cooler. Thank you!

  23. A pasta dish with pork butt – now that a first for me. I can see how it would require a hearty pasta like pappardelle. This looks delicious and a dish that would be loved in this house. Thanks Karen!

  24. The king of all pasta, pappardelle is without a doubt my favorite to eat and make. Pair it with a braised pork butt or lamb ragù and I’m in heaven. As far as a pork butt in ragù, it tastes similar to wild boar, just not quite as gamey. Great choice of protein.

    1. Thank you Ron, I appreciate your nice compliment a tbouthe pappardelle and pork ragu. It really did turn out to be a delicious meal…I’m glad you approve of my choices. 🙂

  25. Your ragu is something I’d never tire of eating, especially on cold winter days like this. So hearty and comforting.

    1. Hi Liz, The weather doesn’t sound like it is going to improve anytime soon. This would indeed be a good dish to serve your family. I’m glad you like the recipe, thank you!

    1. Thank you for the lovely compliment Ksenia. I’m happy that the dish brought back memories of your travels to Tuscany…it did with us as well. 🙂

  26. Karen, what a delicious dish…I am loving the sound and the look of the braised pork ragu, delicious paired with the pappardelle pasta.
    Have a great week!

  27. OH My my my!!! This is our favorite dish!! Love the ragu with pappadella pasta – I need to make this soon! And Happy Belated New Year!!

    1. Thank you very much Anna and Liz, I hope you will enjoy the pasta and pork ragu as much as we did. I appreciate your nice wish, I hope you are having a great start to the new year as well.

  28. I recently saw a recipe for this and thought i needed to make this. It sounds so comforting and I especially love papparadelle pasta to help soak up all those wonderful flavors!

  29. A dish to my taste with or without the boar. Boar is actually pretty easy to get around here, both in larger supermarkets or fresh from the many hunters I know (my step father-in-law is one of them). I think he would be delighted to eat this.

  30. I’m glad you like the recipe Adina, thank you. I’m glad you have a source for wild boar through your father in law, that is terrific. I’ve had wild boar during our fall visits to Germany, it was roasted with a brown sauce and was very good.

  31. Hi Karen, Happy New Year to you!
    These types of pasta dishes are soulful and comforting. This would make a beautiful Sunday Supper dish. Love, love it. Thank you for sharing.

    All the best,

    1. Hi Velva, It is so nice to have you back in the blogging world. You are right about this being a nice Sunday Supper dish…that is exactly how I served this pasta dish. Thank you for your lovely comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s