Priests’ hat pasta with Calabrian wild boar sauce

Recipe from Nino Zoccali's cookbook Pasta Artigiana

Priests’ hat pasta with Calabrian wild boar sauce


PREP TIME 5-6 hours



600 g (1 lb, 5 oz) fresh egg pasta dough (see below)

fine semolina, for dusting

2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small brown onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

8 sage leaves

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

350 g (12 oz) minced (ground) wild boar leg or shoulder (see Note)

350 g (12 oz) minced (ground) pork belly

fine sea salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

200 ml (7 fl oz) red wine

800 g (1 lb, 12 oz) fresh roma (plum) tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon hot dried chilli flakes, plus extra, to serve (optional)

beef broth (see below) or water, if needed

freshly grated pecorino cheese, to serve


To make the cappelli di preti pasta, take the fresh egg pasta dough and roll it out to sheets of no more than 1 mm (1/32 inch) in thickness. Cut the pasta sheets into 6.5 x 6.5 cm (2½ x 2½ inch) squares, then cut the squares diagonally in half to form two symmetrical triangles. Brush a little water on each fold of the bottom corners of the triangle and fold each of the corners to the centre to form the shape of a priest’s hat. Lightly dust with semolina and set aside on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper until ready to cook.

To make the sauce, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and sauté the diced onion, garlic, sage, half of the parsley and the boar and pork belly meat. Season with the sea salt and black pepper. Break up the minced meat with a spoon and sauté until all are nicely browned. Pour in the red wine and continue to cook until the wine has completely evaporated. Add the tomato, remaining parsley and chilli flakes. Cook slowly for at least two hours. You will need to add a little beef broth or water during the cooking process if the sauce looks like it is becoming too reduced.

Cook the pasta in abundant salted boiling water. When cooked, drain and mix with the sauce, adding a little of the pasta water. Serve hot with lots of freshly grated pecorino cheese. For those who like chilli, additional dried chilli flakes can be added to the dish at the end.

Note: Order wild boar in advance from a specialist Italian butcher.

Fresh egg pasta dough

Makes approximately 600 g (1 lb, 5 oz)

330 g (11½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra, for kneading

70 g (2½ oz) fine semolina

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

4 x 59g (2¼ oz) free range or organic eggs


Combine the flour, semolina and sea salt and place on a work surface or large wooden board. The flour should form a peaked mound. With your hand, make a hole in the top of the mound so that it resembles a volcano. This hole needs to be big enough to be able to 'house' the eggs. Break the eggs into the hole. With your hand or with a fork, gently beat the eggs, then slowly incorporate the flour into the egg mixture. I do this by moving my hand in a circular motion, slowly incorporating the flour from the inside wall of the mound. Don't worry if the dough looks like a mess. This is normal. Once fully combined, knead a little more flour into the dough if it feels a little wet and sticky. Set the dough aside and clean the work space. Dust some fresh flour onto the work surface and continue kneading the dough for another 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Next, roll the pasta to the desired thickness and cut into the desired shape.

Beef broth

Makes approximately 2.5 litres (87 fl oz/10 cups)

2 kg (4 lb, 8 oz) beef bones and trimmings (see note)

2 tablespoons olive oil

100 g (3½ oz) onion, roughly chopped

100 g (3½ oz) carrot, roughly chopped

100 g (3½ oz) celery stalks, roughly chopped

40 g (1½ oz) garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

4 litres (140 fl oz/16 cups) water

2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 bay leaves

5 black peppercorns

2 thyme sprigs

2 flat-leaf (Italian) parsley sprigs


Preheat the oven to 150 C (300 F/Gas 2). Place the beef bones and trimmings in a roasting tin and bake until nicely browned (approximately 1-1½ hours). Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy-based frying pan and sauté the onion, carrot, celery and garlic until they are nicely browned.

Deglaze the roasting tin with some of the water, then add this with all the other ingredients to a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and slowly simmer without a lid for 3-4 hours. Skim away the excess fat and other particles that come to the surface of the liquid throughout the cooking process. Strain the liquid through a fine strainer and refrigerate. If there is excess fat, it will solidify at the top of the refrigerated broth. Remove this with a spoon and discard before using the broth. Beef broth can be made in advance and frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Note: Replace the beef bones with veal bones to make veal stock.