Paccheri Venison Ragu w/ Eggplant & Kale

7 | May 19, 2011

Lately with little Miss Mia battling a flu and me trying to keep my head on straight, it seems I haven’t been able to keep up with the blog as I want or do simple things as go to the grocery store. So when my little girl who hasn’t eaten a bite in two days asked for pasta with red sauce I headed straight to the kitchen practically skipping because she had her appetite back. But when I opened the pantry door things grew dark and the famous theme song from “Psycho” screached in my head when I realized I was out of marinara and wasn’t sure if I had anything to make a homemade sauce. I litterally searched the refriderator like a mad woman and when I couldn’t find what I needed there I ran out to the garden. Thankfully, I came up with what at least would look like a sauce and defrosted some ground venison (Mia’s favorite) to come up with what I thought could be etable. To my surprise it was one of the best venison meals I’ve ever made and the best ragu I’ve ever had. Not to brag or anything but it was wonderful and satisfied the princesses tastebuds as well.

We love venison in our family. We know where it comes from and how it’s processed (because we do it ourselves) and find it to be absolutely delicious. This is a must for those out there who have a freezer full of this seasons hunt or those of you who I have given pounds of meat to and look at me like “thanks for the hamburger meat? No Seriously, what do I do with this?” Venison Ragu is a fresh and bright meal full of vegetables and lean meat with a slightly sweet and creamy tomato based sauce.

Venison Ragu with Eggplant & Kale serves 6 to 8

  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground venison
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/2 cup (1/2 onion) red onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbs tomato puree
  • 2 1/4 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 small eggplant, diced
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped (about 2 cups chopped)
  • 10 oz package of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Tbs fresh sage, chopped*
  • 1 Tbs fresh oregano, chopped*
  • 1 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped*
  • 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 17 ounce package Paccheri or other big shell pasta
  • garnish with fresh parmesan cheese, grated

* dried herb substitute: use 1/2 Tablespoon for each herb


In a very large saute pan with high sides or a large wide pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high heat and brown venison till cooked through (about 8 minutes). Remove browned venison and set aside.

In the same pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, onion, carrots, and salt. Saute for 5 to 10 minutes over medium heat until the onions are translucent.

Add tomato pure, beef stock and wine and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil.

Add eggplant, kale, tomatoes, sage, oregano, parsley, and brown sugar. Stir. Reduce heat to a simmer (medium-low) and simmer for 20 minutes until the eggplant and kale are cooked.

At this time, cook the Paccheri according to the package instructions.

Place the venison on a cutting board and sprinkle the flour over the browned meat. With a large knife, cut the flour into the meat by cutting the meat as small as possible. This is just a way to get flour into the sauce without having flour lumps. Return the browned venison with the flour to the pan and stir. Simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes until thickened.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over the cooked Paccheri and garnish with grated parmesan cheese.

Deserves a, “Seriously good!”



  • Wenderly

    Oh that looks divine! So glad to hear that Miss Mia is feeling better! And what a good mama you are1

  • Wenderly

    *rats* that should have been a “!” at the end! LOL…snort. Oh well! That’s what I get for my poor typing skills!

  • Sandra

    This looks so delicious!! Will totally try it :)

  • Kristi

    OMG Thank you for this recipe!! I have made it twice (once for company) to rave reviews. The only change I made was subbing zucchini for the eggplant (because I did have zucchini and I had no eggplant). Oh, and I did use elk in place of deer. I was blown away at how tasty it was… to be honest when I was looking at it cooking, I though it was going to be mediocre at best. It is definitely in my permanent collection now!

    • In Sock Monkey Slippers

      I’m so glad you like it! It’s one of our favorites and I wish I had some elk to try this with! Sounds delish.

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