Venison Ragu with Spaghetti
Venison makes an extremely rich sauce for pasta – particularly spaghetti. Try making this sauce to put in a lasagne, adding some soaked dried mushrooms.
2 tablespoons olive oil
75 g (3 oz) pancetta cubes or streaky bacon
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 stick celery, finely chopped
350 g (12 oz) lean venison, minced
3 teaspoons tomato purée
150 ml (1/4 pint) full-bodied red wine
300 –600 ml (1/2 - 1 pint) beef stock
1 teaspoon dried Herbes de Provence
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh basil leaves and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the pancetta or bacon, cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until just browning. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and cook for 5 minutes until beginning to brown. Add the venison and stir it around, breaking up the big lumps for 5-6 minutes until it is grey-coloured all over (not brown). Stir in the tomato purée then the red wine. Bring to the boil and boil fast until all the liquid disappears. Season with salt and pepper, the nutmeg, and add 300 ml (1/2 pint) of stock. Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer, half cover and simmer for about 30 minutes (top up with more stock if it looks as if it is too thick and sticking. After 30 minutes, stir in the milk, then simmer for a further 15 minutes until thick and creamy. Serve tossed with freshly cooked spaghetti, sprinkled with basil leaves and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.