• 8 ounces ground Venison
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino Romano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 slices white bread, torn into small pieces (1 cup packed)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk


  1. Mix together venison and pork using your hands. Stir in garlic, cheese, parsley, eggs, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt; season with pepper. Soak bread in milk for 5 minutes, and then stir into meat mixture. Lightly dampen hands, and roll mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls, transferring to a rimmed baking sheet as you work. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

  2. Bring sauce to a gentle simmer in a medium pot. Meanwhile, heat oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry meatballs, shaking skillet occasionally, until brown all over, about 6 minutes, and transfer to sauce. Simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. (Test doneness by cutting 1 meatball open.)

Basic Marinara Sauce


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can (28 ounces) peeled plum tomatoes with juice, pureed
  • 12 basil leaves, torn
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of crushed red-pepper flakes (optional)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste.

  2. Add pureed tomatoes, basil, oregano, red-pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Season with pepper, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick, 25 to 30 minutes.