Venison Tortelloni Bake
inspired by Nevada Foodies
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb ground venison (or lean beef or turkey)
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz fresh spinach, chopped
1 14.5-oz can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
16 ounces refrigerated cheese tortelloni (see notes)
4 oz shredded mozzarella (see notes)
1 oz finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add venison and saute for 4-5 minutes, breaking into small chunks with a spoon, until nearly cooked through. Add onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add chopped spinach and cook until wilted.
Stir in tomato sauce, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and salt. Simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors come together, then add tortelloni and gently mix.
Pour mixture into large baking dish (or, if you prefer, leave in skillet if it is oven-safe). Cover loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, top with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese, then return the pan to the oven for another 5 minutes, or until cheese is thoroughly melted. Serve.
This was different. PHENOMENAL. Everything I dreamed it would be the whole time I was fantasizing about having the venison to try the recipe. I will make this with more of the venison I currently have and then make it with my wild game ragu or wild game Italian sausage. So, so great.
Note on pasta: I buy a 3-pound bag of tortelloni at Costco and split it into 1-pound portions, but I know tortelloni is not always easy to find. Tortellini (“ini” are smaller) will work fine, as will small ravioli.
Note on mozzarella: by all means, add more, up to 8 oz. We like slightly less cheese than most folks, so feel free to adjust to your or your family’s taste.