Italian Summer Nights

Renee Kemps
Pasta Memories / Renee Kemps

I’m not in Italy, and I haven’t been recently. There’s also no plans to go any time soon, and actually summer is almost ending. However, there’s memories. Memories of Italian Summer Nights – warm weather, a little breeze, lots of people talking and sitting around the table, big plates of fresh pasta, good wines. The sun will slowly set, and with dusk there will be more wine, and – of course – tiramisu and sgroppinos.

It’s ultimate comfort food – a big plate/bowl of fresh pasta, an easy sauce, and half a little white bread on the side. Served with just a fork, to eat it like the Italians do. There’s little things more satisfying than to twirl freshly made spaghetti, tagliatelle or pappardelle with a fork, to soak up the remaining sauce with a little piece of bread, and have a glass of incredibly good wine to go with it.

It’s all about good quality ingredients. Not many, just natural, seasonal, favorfull and bursting with natural juices. Local, fresh, non processed. It’s a better piece of meat rather than more meat. Local and seasonal vegetables. Good flour. The Italians know how to cook, how to celebrate, how to do it right – I love Italian Summer Nights.

Pappardelle with Wild Boar Ragout
Makes 4 portions


1 red onion, diced
1 small carrot, cut in 1/2-1/2 cm cubes
1 stalk celery, cut in 1/2-1/2 cm cubes
3-5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
handful fresh oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs good quality olive oil
1 tbs good quality butter
1 kg wild boar, with 1-2 bones for flavour
2 glasses good quality red wine
2 cans peeled tomatoes
water, depending on the size of your pan

400 gr fresh pappardelle
(you can use this recipe, and cut the pasta in pappardelle strips)

Grated pecorino, for serving
Fresh Parsley, for serving


Season the meat with salt and pepper. Let it rest.
Heat oil and butter together in a big skillet over medium high heat.
Sear meat on all sides. Take it out of the pan and let it rest.
Add carrot and celery to the skillet with now ‘infused’ oil/butter. Add garlic, onion, thyme, rosemary and oregano. Fry until softened and season with salt and pepper.
Put the meat back in the skillet. Add the red wine to deglaze the pan, and let the alcohol evaporate a little.
Add tomatoes and fill up skillet with water so everything is covered. Place a lid on top and let this simmer for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, adding more water to keep everything covered.
After 2-2 1/2 hours, take the lid from the pan and check the meat. It should fall off the bone. If it’s not ready, give some more time, checking every 15-20 minutes or so.
Take the meat out and let this rest. Turn up heat to boil down the tomato sauce, for about 20-30 minutes, until it starts to thicken.
Take meat off the bone (using either hands or forks) and add it back to the tomato sauce.
Stir gently and boil down all together for another 10 minutes, until thick and concentrated.
In the meantime, bring water to a boil for your freshly made pasta. Cook until al dente, drain and add the pasta to the boar ragout. Stir gently.
Serve immediately, with grated pecorino, fresh parsley, a little (slice of) bread and a glass of wine.

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