elk venison pasta recipe
Jennifer Danella for Wide Open Spaces

This Elk Pasta Fagioli May Be the Perfect Cold Weather Meal

This recipe makes the perfect cold-weather meal, with pasta, beans, and ground elk— and it's one-pot and ready in about an hour.

Looking for a one-pot elk meat recipe? Our elk pasta fagioli offers a hunters' twist on the traditional Italian meal. Pasta fagioli translates to "pasta and beans" and contains yummy spices, various vegetables, filling pasta, and meat. It's comfort food in a bowl. Using elk meat instead of the traditional pancetta or sausage gives a sweeter, gamier flavor to the dish.

The best part, besides being a bowl full of warmth, is that most of the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen, and substitutions are easy. For example, if you don't have cannellini, you can always use chickpeas or Great Northern beans. Brown your ground elk meat, add in your spices, veggies, tomato sauce, and boil. Reduce to a simmer, and enjoy!

Elk Pasta Fagioli Recipe


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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground elk
  • 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried fennel
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 (28-ounce can) crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 (14-ounce can) diced tomatoes with juices
  • 5 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce can) cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¾ cup uncooked ditalini pasta
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped

Recipe Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.

  2. Brown ground elk and onions for approximately 4 minutes, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Season with fennel, 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir well.

  3. Add in carrots and celery and sauté for an additional 5 minutes, or until the elk is cooked through and vegetables are softened. Stir occasionally

  4. Add in garlic and cook for 1 minute.

  5. Add in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, broth, beans, bay leaf, and remaining Italian seasoning. Increase heat to a high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

  6. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Partially covered with the lid.

  7. Remove the bay leaf. Add in pasta and continue to simmer until the pasta is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir a few times while it's cooking to prevent the pasta from sticking.

  8. Mix in Parmesan cheese and Italian parsley. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.  Serve with additional Parmesan cheese on the side.

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