As we settle into the first few snows of the year let this recipe take you somewhere warm and comforting. This simple baked pasta sends me right back to playing in the yard while mum makes dinner.
Baked pastas reheat incredibly well, so it’s a great dish to assemble in the morning and then heat in the oven after you’ve spent the day playing in the snow.
Moose happens to be a personal favourite, but if you’ve found yourself with a freezer full of ground bison (or caribou, or even beef or chicken) then use what you have and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
1 pound (500 grams) small tubular pasta (ziti, rigatoni, elbows, penne all work well)
1 ½ pounds moose
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomato
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound (500 grams) mozzarella
1. Set oven at 375ºF. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package
directions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water from the pasta, then drain the pasta and set aside to cool.
2. In a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat cook the ground moose with oregano, thyme and hot pepper flakes. When the moose is fully cooked and beginning to brown add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomato and reserved pasta water and bring sauce to a simmer. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes, or until it begins to reduce and thicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss with the cooked pasta.
3. Divide the mozzarella in half. Using a box grater, grate half the mozzarella with the largest
holes of the grater and cube the remaining half. Toss the cubed mozzarella into the pasta and sauce mixture then top the pasta with the remaining cheese.
4. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown.