With Bill Dixon
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Venison Bolognese With Fennel
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For The Venison Saute':
1 1/2 - 2 Pounds Fresh Ground Lean Venison
8-10 Cloves Fresh Garlic
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Sweet Onion Chopped
1 or 2 Stalks Fresh Celery Diced
1 Medium Carrot Finely Grated
1 Tbsp Fennel Seeds
1 Tbsp Dred Thyme Leaves
1 -2 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Additional Tsp. Sea Salt
For The Sauce:
1 28 Oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 28 Oz Can Whole San Marzano Tomatoes
1 TBSP Capers
1/3 Cup Red Wine or White if you prefer
8 - 10 Fresh Basil Leaves Chiffonaded
For The Garnish:
Additional Chiffonaded Fresh Basil Leaves
Parmigiano Reggiano Or Pecorino Rmano
For The Pasta:
One of the following,
Whole Wheat Spaghetti
Whole Wheat Linguine
First peel the garlic cloves. Thinly slice half of them, and coarse chop the other half.
Next, mix the fennel seeds with the chopped garlic and the teaspoon of sea salt. Now you will have the fennel seeds corraled in the chopped garlic and salt. The fennel seeds will stick to the garlic while you finely chop them along with the garlic and salt and not fly all over the kitchen like a bunch of Mexican jumping beans.
In a 5 quart pot add the 1/4 quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and bring to a nice shimmer. Add the thinly sliced garlic and allow tosaute' for about a minute, but do not allow to brown or burn. Next add the ground venison and then the chopped fennel seeds, salt and garlic mixture along with the crushed red pepper flakes. (I like to go easy on the crushed red pepper until you determine the sauce is not too spicy. You can always add more if you wish.) Stir in and brown the venison until most of the pink disappears. Next add the thyme leaves, chopped onion, diced celery, and grated carrot. After the onions and celery begin to turn translucent, sprinkle in the tablespoon of sugar and the additional teaspoon of salt. You can always add more salt to the sauce later if desired. Sugar too.
After the onions and celery start to become tender, add the 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes. I like to rinse the can with just a little bit of water in order to capture all of the tomato residue in the can, and then add to the pot. A little bit of water helps in the cooking process and will evaporate off.
Pour the whole San Marzano tomatoes into a mixing bowl and coarsely crush them with your clean, bare hands. Use plastic food serving gloves if you're a sissy. Add to pot.
Next add the capers and the wine.
Stir all ingredients and mix well. Place a lid on the pot and simmer over a medium high heat for about twenty minutes covered. You will want to keep a check, and stir the pot so the sauce does not burn on the bottom. It is neccessary for the tomatoes to be cooked with a higher heat than just a simmer for this period so the flavor is more robust, the acidity breaks down and more sugars realese. The added benifit is the lycopene molecules from the tomatoes are restructured in such a way they are better absorbed into the bloodstream which helps to prevent chronic diseases and cancer.
After the twenty minutes or so, continue simmering the sauce over a lower heat, with the lid on for an additional forty minutes. After one hour total cook time, you can continue to simmer uncovered for an additional ten or fifteen minutes to allow the sauce to thicken a bit. At this time stir in the 8 or 10 chiffonaded fresh basil leaves.
During this thickening time boil your water for cooking the pasta. After the water starts to boil add a little salt and olive oil to the boiling pot.
For this dish I like to use a hearty pasta like fettuccine, or linguine. Not that wussie little angel hair. Save that for a simple olive oil, herb and garlic sauce.
Cook the pasta to just before done and drain in a collender. Do Not Rinse the pasta. The starch is neccessary to help the sauce bond to the pasta. The pasta will continue to cook from it's own heat after draining to a perfect Al dente!
After you plate your pasta and laddle on the Bolognese, garnish the top with additional chiffonaded fresh basil and freh grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Ramono Cheese.
Serve with my Pungo Prairie No Knead Artisan Bread.
Serves 6 to 8