VenisonWild Recipes

Rigatoni with Venison and Creamy Mustard Sauce

Latest posts by Jeff Benda (see all)
4.0 from 1 vote

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I grew up thinking mustard was strictly for topping hot dogs and spreading on pastrami sandwiches. However, I had an epiphany to its potential in pasta sauce after standing in a kitchen at 1:00 a.m. eating a giant bowl of rigatoni with creamy mustard sauce. 

The year was 1998. My buddy Derek and I had both worked a grueling 12-hour shift at the beachside restaurant. I clocked out at 10:03 p.m., walked outside into the muggy evening, and was greeted by Derek smoking a cigarette next to the dumpsters. “Wanna go fishing,” he asked? 

Anytime anybody asks me that, it’s a rhetorical question. Of course, I want to go fishing! The only time I turn down an offer to go fishing is when I already have plans to go hunting.

We spent 3 hours at a foiled attempt to catch one of the snook that lurked under the fishing pier located next to our employer’s fine dining establishment. The cool breeze coming off the Gulf of Mexico had been exhilarating – for the first hour. Now I was exhausted and needed to go home to crash before my next 12-hour shift started at 10:00 a.m. 

Derek lived in the same building I did and invited me over for a quick pasta dish that would help me sleep. Eating a refined carbohydrate like pasta with its high flour and sugar content always makes me drowsy. I’ve never found it necessary to take melatonin to help me get some shut eye. Just give me a bowl of rigatoni or cavatelli, and I’ll snooze for hours.

While Derek boiled some rigatoni, he sautéed onion and garlic in butter until it was soft and fragrant. Then he added some Dijon mustard, heavy cream, and vegetable stock. The guy called himself a vegetarian – an attribute that I appreciated when he caught a fish and didn’t want to eat it himself.

For my Rigatoni with Venison and Creamy Mustard Sauce, I used grainy mustard vs. smooth Dijon, which is one of my favorites for both flavor and texture. I love making this dish when I come home from a long hunting trip and I just want to eat something quick and collapse in my bed. The whole thing comes together in just 20 minutes. If you are looking to bulk it up even more, you can sauté some mushrooms and add them to the mix at the end.

The finished product is a beautifully synchronized medley of flavors and textures that you’ll be craving again and again. If you don’t have rigatoni in your pantry, any medium-sized pasta shape will do. Just be sure to choose one with some nooks and crannies so the creamy mustard sauce has something to cling to.

Serves: 2
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Also Works With: Any ground meat

Looking for more easy recipes using ground venison? Try this recipe for the BEST ground venison taco meat!

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Rigatoni with Venison and Creamy Mustard Sauce

Recipe by Jeff Benda
4.0 from 1 vote
Course: Venison, Wild RecipesCuisine: American


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  • 8 ounces rigatoni, penne, or similar size pasta

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 8 ounces ground venison

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 cup beef broth or chicken broth

  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard or Dijon

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese

  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


  • Bring 2 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water, stir and cook for about 12 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, venison, salt, and crushed red pepper. Crumble the meat with a spatula or wooden spoon, stir well and cook until the venison has lost its raw, red color, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the broth and simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan for about 5 minutes, until broth has reduced by half.
  • Add the mustard and heavy cream and simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat, add the drained pasta, ricotta cheese, and Parmesan. Toss to combine well.
  • Garnish with chives and serve immediately.

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Jeff Benda

Cooking gives me a creative outlet to transform wild game and bring it into traditional recipes from around the world to help expand people's perceptions. My goal is to celebrate local fish and wild game and provide achievable, bright recipes designed to build confidence for new cooks, and inspire everyone to elevate their cooking. I hope that by sharing and celebrating the food I create with the fish and wild game I harvest, I can highlight the great contribution so many hunters and anglers have made to conservation in this country, and reflect the freedom we have to enjoy America's great outdoors.

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