Slow cooked venison ragu and fresh tagliatelle

Slow cooked venison ragu and fresh tagliatelle

Well I have to say, having been given a full day tutorial by our next door neighbour in Italy on making tagliatelle I always feel guilty when I don’t make my own!  For once though I don’t feel guilty but rather pleased I have bought it ready made – but more of that later.  Longer wider pastas are really fabulous with rich meaty sauces in that they carry the sauce so well. More than that though they don’t just carry the sauce – they contribute to it!

There is such a big difference between a pasta dish in the UK (with notable exceptions) and ostensibly the same dish in Italy. In Italy the pasta and the ragu become one by the way it is tossed through the sauce.  It carries the salted pasta water and gives a little of its self to thicken the ragu and develop a silky emulsion. This in turn coats the pasta and brings the two components together.   Far too often in the UK the pasta may only get a cursory toss through the ragu!  It may be for this reason that the proportion of sauce served in the UK tends to be greater than in Italy.  But in the home of pasta, alchemy is performed, and the pasta and the ragu become a single entity.  Indeed they become more than the sum of their two parts and become something quite magical………..

Enough of this  romanticism for the moment and back to this dish!  We made the ragu some time ago and this was the last portion from the freezer – recipe here.
This is a lovely recipe which has repeatedly worked well for us. This ragu is something we normally serve with pappardelle – Tuscan style and very good it is that way too.  On this occasion though we had it with a fresh tagliatelle pasta from ‘La Tua Pasta’.  In so doing the cuisine moved from Tuscany north west to Emillia-Romana.

Bologna is the capital, of Emillia-Romana-Romana and is the origin of ragu Bolognese.  Our ragu  here is similar to this ragu Bolognese though it has subtle differences.  LIke the traditional ragu Bolognese it works so well with perhaps the best known pasta of the region – Tagliatelle.  Under no circumstances should either of these ragu ever be served with spaghetti – unless of course you simply want to insult your Italian friends!!

Our sauce here picks up on many of the themes of that traditional ragu Bolognese, built on a basic soffritto, it contains just a little tomato and is seasoned simply with salt and pepper, occasionally nutmeg, or as here, cinnamon.  So a dish that could sit comfortably in either Tuscany or Emillia-Romana – but when served with tagliatelle it most definitely speaks of its Bolognese origins!

The tagliatelle for this dish came from the UK company La Tua Pasta.
We have used their pasta a lot during the Covid Pandemic especially enjoying their beautiful filled pastas which I still find difficult to make!!  But I would give a special ‘shout out’ for their tagliatelle.  It is a beautiful egg pasta which although will keep for a week or so tastes just like a fresh pasta you have made yourself.  It does have the advantage over my own tagliatelle that it holds together better as you toss it though the ragu to create that lovely authentic Italian union between ragu and pasta.  And so without any apology I give you our ‘Slow Cooked Venison Ragu with fresh Tagliatelle’

………….. I hope you enjoy it!

Full recipe here.

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