When my wife has to work late, I like to play “let’s see what I can make for dinner with what we have in the fridge.” It’s a fun game, and the end result can land anywhere on the spectrum from “Oh my GOD, that’s delicious!” to “Holy shit; NEVER AGAIN!”
On this particular day, I went into this feeling lazy, and when I’m feeling lazy I usually reach for the pasta. As I was deciding between penne and linguine, I remembered that a friend of mine had sent me a few pounds of ground venison, which I had yet to use. I started thinking about what I could create, and in doing so began pulling ingredients out of the pantry and fridge.
Here is what ended up on the counter:
- 1 lb ground venison
- 6 oz hot italian chicken sausage
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 zucchini chopped
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper
- 1 can Petite diced tomatoes
- 1/2 can tomato paste
- 1/2 tube Italian herb seasoning
- 1/2 jar tomato basil pasta sauce
- Fresh basil leaves
- Red Wine – For me, not to go in the food.
I started by cooking the veggies on medium for a few minutes to give the some color. After about five minutes, I threw in the garlic, and cooked for another minute, and then transferred the mixture to a bowl.
I browned the sausage and the venison in the same pan, and then drained the excess liquid from the meat after it was cooked.
I added the veggies back into the pan, topped it with the can of tomatoes, the paste and the sauce, folded it all together, and continued cooking.
After cooking on medium-low heat for about ten minutes, I stirred in about two tablespoons of the Italian seasoning, and let that cook for another few minutes before turning the heat down. Just before I was ready to serve, I added about a 1/2 a cup of rough-chopped basil, which gave it a nice effervescence and a great fresh flavor.
I finished the dish by serving myself a generous portion atop a bed of pasta, and topping it off with some fresh shaved parmesan.
The venison gave the ragout a nice, comforting flavor, and any potenital ‘gameyness’ was balanced by the sweet sausage and the acid of the tomatoes.
I love playing the “what can I make?” game!