Ben Spalding Recipe

Ben Spalding's Classic Venison Ragu Recipe

When the weather’s cold outside you need something to warm you through. The next recipe in our series from Ben Spalding combines thick, rich and wholesome venison ragu with Pappardelle pasta. It’s the proper hearty meal we all need in winter. And the best bit? The venison tastes even better the next day.

This is one of my absolute favourite dishes to cook. It’s delicious, warming, hearty and just an honest plate of food. There is something magical about a ragu of any sort. Watching it transform and develop in flavour is really special – enjoy cooking this.” - Ben Spalding.

Classic Venison Ragu, Red Wine, Pappardelle, Crème Fraiche & Parmigianino Reggiano

Serves 4 People

Venison Ragu Ingredients
1 kilo of top quality venison mince (ask your butcher) 1 onion–peeled & diced small
2 large carrots–peeled, topped & tailed & grated 4 cloves of garlic–peeled & sliced thinly
1 can of chopped tomatoes 2 fresh ripe tomatoes
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley–leaves picked 2 oranges–zest & juiced
250g tomato ketchup 1Ltr chicken stock (shop-bought or homemade)
500ml veal stock (shop-bought or homemade) 100g marmite
100g orange marmalade 200g soy sauce
A few proper drops of Tabasco A good glug of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
1Ltr full bodied red wine (doesn’t have to be expensive, ideal if you have opened one the night before and have lying around) A good sprinkle of paprika
2 bay leaves Maldon sea salt or even better Sel gris (Grey salt–which is best used on meat)
A pepper mill with white or black pepper Sunflower oil


  1. On a medium to high heat, heat 2 large non-stick frying pans until smoking then add sunflower oil and the mince. Caramelise on a medium heat until golden brown all over. Use a wooden spoon to break the mince up and stop it from clumping. Season heavily with Maldon salt and black pepper.
  2. Once golden, add to a shallow and wide pot. 
  3. Now add the onions and garlic into the same frying pans with a little more oil and fry on a medium heat for 10 minutes until golden, sweet, sticky, caramelised and starting to burn a little. 
  4. Now add the garlic and carrots, and fry for a further 2 minutes, then add all to the mince in the pot. 
  5. Now add the red wine and heat the pot to a high heat. Reduce the wine until it has evaporated into the mince. Stir regularly and give the mince your love and attention.
  6. Now add all of the other ingredients except the flat leaf parsley.
  7. Continue to stir and reduce the heat to a medium heat. Cook it for a minimum of 3 hours, evaporating all of the liquid and letting the ragu take on a deep silky, dark glazed colour. Adjust the heat and seasoning as necessary.
  8. The smell and taste should be amazing. Repeatedly taste the ragu as you go.
  9. Keep on a low heat until ready to use.
    Tip: Tastes even better the next day and ideal for lasagne or on toast or with fried eggs or with literally anything or even on its own.
Pappardelle Ingredients
1 kilo of high quality pappardelle pasta
(Waitrose is my preferred option)
Maldon sea salt


  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and season it well with Maldon sea salt – check the taste.
  2. Cook the pappardelle as per the packet instructions. When draining the cooked pappardelle in a colander, add plenty of good olive oil to stop the pasta from clumping, then serve immediately.
Parmigiano Reggiano Ingredients
250g best quality authentic Parmigianino Reggiano


  1. This is what makes the dish. There is no point using anything but the very best authentic Parmigianino Reggiano cheese. I can’t recommend enough to source the proper Parmesan. These imitation ones are just a shadow of the good stuff. Try food halls or Waitrose if your local shop doesn’t stock it.
  2. Add a small tablespoon of crème fraiche onto the top of the plated pasta serving. 
Equipment from
Small Metal Trays Knife Colander
Large Roasting Pans Tongs Microplane
Non-Stick Frying Pans Deep Boiling Pot Rubber Spatulas
Wooden Spoon Electronic Scales Peeler
Chopping Board Mixing Bowls

Feeling inspired by this recipe? Let us know how you got on by posting a picture on our Home Chef Facebook page.

And make sure you keep an eye on our blog for the next Ben Spalding recipe. Subscribe to Ben's YouTube channel if you want to find out more about him and his culinary conquests.

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