Pasta Brocolli Bake

Easy to make pasta casserole with leftovers guaranteed!

Easy to make pasta casserole with leftovers guaranteed!

I got this dish out of the Food and Wine Magazine. I’ve realized when you see a dish with pancetta, all you have to do is swap bacon for the pancetta. My husband is a deer hunter so we have lots of venison to use up over the year. So, that means modifying A LOT of recipes to include venison.  But don’t think I’m complaining.  I love cooking with venison!  For this recipe you will need:

1 pound of ground venison

1 pound of rigatoni pasta

1 jar of good tomato sauce (I used Newman’s Own Marinara sauce)

1 cup of green olives

1 pound of broccoli

extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion (yellow is fine)

1/2 a package of good bacon (peppered bacon gives this dish a little bit of a kick)

1 package of grated parmesan/asiago cheese

3 garlic cloves, finely minced or crushed

2 TBSP butter

Directions:

Cook the rigatoni according to the box’s directions.  Set aside.  Take your broccoli and toss with the olive oil (2 TBSP) should do it.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Roast the broccoli for fifteen minutes or until crisp and tender.

Meanwhile, cook six strips of bacon in a large skillet.  Once the bacon is done, set it aside on some paper towels.  Add the venison to the skillet, reserving 2 TBSP of the bacon grease.  Venison tends to be very lean so you probably won’t have to drain it off.  When the venison is done, turn the heat off and keep it in the skillet.

Take the onion, finely chopped, and add to a pan with the extra virgin olive oil (just enough to cover the pan) and allow to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Take the green olives, sliced in half, and add to the onion.  Add the garlic and butter.  Mix with a wooden spoon.  Allow to cook for about two minutes.  Turn the heat off and leave in the pan.

Take the pasta and mix it with the jar of tomato sauce.  Add the broccoli, onions, olives, and garlic as well.  Mix to combine.  Add half the package of cheese.  Spread the pasta mixture in a greased casserole dish.  Top with the rest of the cheese and the bacon.  Allow the casserole to cool in the 425 degree oven for fifteen minutes.  You want the cheese just a little bit browned.  Allow to cool for five minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Tips to make prep easier:

If possible chop the onion up first and put in a small bowl.  You may also want to crush or mince the garlic first as well.  I find it’s much easier to do a recipe with multiple steps if I do the chopping and mincing first.  Also, don’t be afraid to modify and tweak a recipe.  This recipe originally called for roasted tomatoes.  Because I didn’t have the time for yet another step I decided to use tomato sauce in place of the roasted tomatoes.