Venison Shank Ragù

venison shank ragù on tagliatelle

Venison shanks get cooked down into shreds in this luscious Italian ragù sauce which goes perfectly with tagliatelle noodles. Allow yourself the whole day to cook this dish and you will be rewarded with fall-apart shanks and a super tasty sauce. 

Fish sauce is a sneaky secret ingredient in this dish that will add an extra kick of flavour and umami with zero fishiness. Worcestershire (itself a type of fish sauce) or soy sauce would work too if you don’t have fish sauce on hand. 

  • Prep Time15 min
  • Ready in6 Hrs
  • Yield6 servings
  • Cuisine
  • Course
    • Main Course
  • Cooking Method
    • Braising
  • Special Equipment
    • Oven-safe pot - Preferably a Dutch oven


  • 2 boneless venison shanks
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (250ml) red wine
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) high quality balsamic vinegar
  • 20oz (600ml) passata or unseasoned tomato sauce 
  • 1 14oz (400ml) can whole San Marzano tomatoes 
  • 1 cup (250ml) venison stock, beef stock, or water
  • 1 large Parmesan rind (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon (8ml) fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) butter
  • 1 1b (475g) tagliatelle noodles
  • Grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil to garnish



Preheat oven to 275°F (140°C, gas mark 1)

Generously season shanks with salt and pepper. 

Heat up the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat and sear shanks on all sides until dark golden brown. 

Turn down heat, remove shanks, and set aside.


Add chopped carrot, onion, and celery to the pot and season with a little more salt and pepper.

Fry on medium low until they begin to soften. 


Add the red wine and balsamic vinegar and deglaze the pot, scraping the bottom to lift up all of the flavourful fond (fond is the word for all of those flavourful bits stuck to the bottom of the pot). 


Add the passata, then the canned tomatoes, crushing each tomato in your hand over the pot. Add the rest of the liquid in the can once the tomatoes have all been crushed. Now add in the cup of stock or water.


Add the venison shanks back into the sauce, as well as the Parmesan rind if you are using one. Bring to a simmer. 

Put into the oven, covered, for 1 hour.


After an hour, remove the lid and let cook for another 3 hours, stirring every half hour or so. 


After 3 hours, remove the pot from the oven. Take out the shanks and shred them with two forks, then add the meat back to the pot along with the fish sauce (if you’re using it). If you are having trouble shredding the shanks, then they may need to braise for another 30 minutes longer before trying again. 

If the sauce is still looking very soupy, turn the heat up to 300°F (1508C, gas mark 2) and put the pot back into the oven and cook until sauce is at your desired consistency. 

If the sauce already is nice and thick, leave the temperature as-is and cook for 1 more hour. 


Once the sauce is ready, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil for your pasta. 

Add the noodles and cook as per the package instructions for very al dente. 

Drain the noodles, reserving 1 cup (250ml) of the pasta water. 


Pull the pot of meat sauce out of the oven and place it onto a burner. 

Add the noodles to the pot of sauce, turning on the heat to medium low. 

Slowly add the cup of reserved pasta water 1/4 cup at a time, stirring and tossing, allowing the pasta to soak it up in between additions. 

Now add the butter, tossing the saucy noodles so everything becomes rich and silky. This should only take a few minutes. 


To serve, pile high onto plates and shower the pasta with grated Parmesan cheese and some chopped fresh basil leaves. Enjoy! 

Share this recipe:

You might also like: