- Mix together the venison, chopped onion, egg, flour and herbs until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into 28 portions. Lightly flour your hands, then roll the portions into neat balls.
- Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan or flameproof casserole and fry the meatballs, rolling them gently from time to time, for 8–10 minutes or until they are browned all over. (Brown the meatballs in batches, if necessary.) Use a draining spoon to remove the meatballs from the pan and set them aside.
- For the sauce, add the onion, red pepper, mushrooms, celery and garlic to the juices in the frying pan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the red wine and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half.
- Add the stock, tomatoes with their juice, and the bouquet garni to the pan and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Return the meatballs to the pan and turn them over in the sauce. Simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain well.
- Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Discard the bouquet garni. Divide the spaghetti among 4 serving plates or bowls and top with the meatballs and sauce. Garnish with shredded basil and serve immediately.
Some more ideas
Use minced turkey instead of minced venison in the meatballs, and dry white wine instead of red wine in the sauce. * Lean minced beef or pork, or a combination of the two, can be used instead of venison. * Serve spinach tagliatelle or a combination of green and white paglia e fieno (mixed spinach and egg noodles) instead of spaghetti.
Venison is a good alternative to beef: it is exceptionally low in fat compared to other red meats, but still provides useful amounts of iron and B vitamins. Venison contains slightly less fat than uncooked skinless chicken breast – 1.1 g fat per 100 g (3½ oz) compared to 1.6 g fat.
Each serving provides
copper, iron * A, B6, B12, C, niacin, potassium, zinc * B1, B2, E, folate