Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 27 Dinner - Spaghetti and Bison Meatballs

Admittedly, I am a little bit obsessed with Bison.  And with good reason!  It is extremely lean, very low in cholesterol (lower, in fact, than some fishes!), always hormone-free (it's the law!) and it tastes rich and wonderful.  If you've never tried it, it is similar to beef but has a slightly sweeter taste. 

I paired these meatballs with a Puttanesca-like tomato sauce that is tangy, briny and a little bit spicy.  Usually Puttanesca is more geared toward seafood, but I think the lean bison goes quite nicely with this flavorful sauce. 

Spaghetti and Bison Meatballs

1 pound ground bison
3 garlic cloves, grated using a microplane to make a puree
1 T tomato paste
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 egg

2 T olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 T capers in salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 cup white wine
1 T honey or agave
4 oz. olives (any variety you like), pitted and chopped
2 T fresh oregano, minced
8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
1/4 cup grated parmiggiano reggiano

Make meatballs.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all the ingredients except for the bison in a small bowl, whisking thoroughly to combine.  Add to bison and gently mix with your hands until combined.  For into small, golf-ball sized balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake until meatballs are firm but not well-done, about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.  Wipe meatballs clean with a cloth or paper towel (they will have aquired some excess "goo" during baking).

Make sauce.  Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add onions, capers and red pepper flakes and saute until onions are soft, about 6 minutes.  Add wine and allow to come to a boil.  Cook for about a minute, then add diced tomatoes, olives, and honey and bring to a boil again.  Reduce heat to low and bring sauce to a simmer.  Add meatballs and cook until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.  Add pasta and oregano and toss to combine.  Top with grated parmiggiano reggiano or your favorite alternative and serve.

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