This Venison ragout with fresh pappardelle makes a memorable dish for a special occasion. Although venison and fresh pasta can be challenging to make, the extra effort is definitely worthwhile. Pappardelle are very broad fettuccine – great for holding the venison. This is the easiest fresh pasta to make, is not fiddly and can be made without a pasta machine – all you need is a rolling pin.
Recipe by Aqua Food and Catering
Photograph by Catharine Swayde Photography & Design
Venison ragout with fresh pappardelle
- 3kg shoulder of venison
- 250ml (1 cup) buttermilk
- 15ml (1 tbsp) ground cloves
- 15ml (1 tbsp) ground juniper berries
- 15ml (1 tbsp) ground cinnamon
- 15ml (1 tbsp) ground coriander
- 10ml (2 tsp) salt
- 5ml (1 tsp) freshly ground black pepper
- 2 whole carrots
- 2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 celery sticks
- 3 bay leaves
- 1L water (or enough to just cover the meat in the pot)
- 250ml (1 cup) red wine
- 125ml (½ cup) red wine vinegar
- 15ml (1 tbsp) Dijon mustard
- 30ml (2 tbsp) cranberry jelly
- 30ml (2 tbsp) cornflour, mixed with a little water to form a paste
- 400g cake flour + extra, to dust
- 4 jumbo eggs
- 3L water
- handful salt
- 200g fresh Parmesan or pecorino, shaved
For the venison, remove the meat’s tough outer membrane. Rub the buttermilk all over the meat and marinate, covered in the fridge, 2 days.
Rinse the buttermilk off the meat after 2 days and pat dry with paper towel. Place the meat in a large pot over medium heat. Add the spices, salt, pepper, carrots, onions, celery sticks and bay leaves, and cover with water. Put a lid on the pot and simmer gently over medium-low heat , 3 – 4 hours or until the meat starts to fall off the bone. Allow to cool down.
Once cool, remove the venison shoulder from the liquid, reserve the liquid and discard the bones. Shred the meat up into fine pieces, using 2 forks, making sure none of the bones remain and put the meat in a serving dish.
For the sauce, strain the reserved liquid through a sieve and pour into a smaller saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce, 5 minutes. Then add the red wine, red wine vinegar, mustard and cranberry jelly. Reduce, a further 10 minutes.
Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the cornflour paste, stir and allow thickening, 2 minutes. Add the sauce to the shredded venison in the serving dish and keep warm until the pasta is cooked.
To make the pappardelle, either use a food processor (which is quick and easy) to make the dough or make it by hand. Put the cake flour into a food processor and break in 4 eggs. Pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Remove the dough from the food processor and place it on a lightly flour-dusted surface. Knead a soft, smooth dough is formed, about 10 minutes.
If a food processor is not available, heap the flour on the counter top and make a well in the centre. Gently add all the eggs into the well, 1 by 1. Use a fork and carefully whisk the eggs into the flour, slowly gathering the flour into the eggs as you whisk. If the egg mixture breaks free, simply gather it back into the flour. When well incorporated, knead the mixture until to a soft, smooth dough, about 10 minutes.
Break the dough into 6 equal pieces and wrap the pieces in cling film to prevent them from drying out. You can now use a pasta machine to roll out the dough or roll it out using a rolling pin. If you are using a pasta machine: set the machine to its widest setting and roll the first piece of dough through. (I always roll each piece of dough through each setting twice, in order to give the dough the extra kneading, which improves the texture of the pasta.) Keep rolling the pasta out into long sheets, going up a setting on the machine after each second roll. Once you have reached the second-last setting on your pasta machine, the dough is adequately thin. You want a pasta that is sturdy enough to hold the venison. Hang each long piece of pasta out – draping it over a wooden dowel stick or even over the back of a wooden chair – until you have rolled out all of the dough.
Cut each sheet into pappardelle strips of about 3cm wide. Don’t allow the strips to touch or they may stick to one another. A tray dusted with flour is the best way to set the pasta out as you cut it.
To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a handful salt. Add the fresh pasta to the water, 1 handful at a time. As the pasta starts to float to the surface of the water, fish it out with a slotted spoon.
Add the pasta to the warm venison ragout and gently spoon the meat onto the top of the pasta. Once all of the pasta has been combined with the meat, top with shaved Parmesan or pecorino.
More delicious recipes from Mark and Carmen’s wedding: