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venison bolognese on a blue plate

Venison Bolognese

  • Author: Miss AK
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x


Venison bolognese is one of the best dishes you can make when you have ground deer meat on hand. This is the best recipe yielding in a rich, tomato sauce. 


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced 
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots (about 23 carrots) 
  • 1 lb. ground venison* (see note below for other types of meat)
  • 34 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning 
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar (optional but suggested)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper 
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar 
  • 1 cup dry red wine* (see note)
  • 28oz. crushed tomatoes 
  • 2830oz. (3 10oz., 2 14oz. cans, or 1 28oz. can) tomato sauce
  • optional – parmesan cheese rind
  • Fresh parsley + parmesan cheese + pasta for serving 


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and carrot and saute until the onion starts to soften, about 5-7 minutes. 
  2. Then, add the ground venison and brown the meat, cooking for about 8 minutes and breaking up the meat as it cooks. 
  3. Then, add the garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and tomato paste and saute for 2 minutes to let the flavors release. 
  4. Deglaze the pan by pouring in the red wine vinegar and wine. Scrape up any bits of flavor at the bottom of the pan. 
  5. Finally, add the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce and mix together well. If you have one handy, add the rind or end of a brick of parmesan cheese to the sauce. It releases great flavor during cooking. 
  6. Once the sauce reaches a slow boil, turn the heat to low and cover the pot. Allow the sauce to simmer for at LEAST 30 minutes, but an hour to a few hours is better. Heck, all day if you have it!
  7. Remove the parmesan rind before serving and ladle the sauce over your pasta of choice. Top with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese if desired. 


  • This recipe also works well with ground elk, lamb or bear meat. If you’d like to use beef or turkey, omit the red wine vinegar or just use 2 teaspoons instead of a full tablespoon. 
  • You can sub the wine with beef or vegetable broth, but I really recommend using it if you can. No need for anything fancy, drinkable wine, even boxed, is fine. I usually use a cabernet.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes+
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian American

Keywords: bolognese, venison, wild game, pasta, Italian

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