I found Moose steaks at my local Lidl just before Christmas and I was very keen to try them out. I already had dried moose shaped pasta (from Ikea) and so this dish was born! You could, of course, replace the moose steaks with venison or beef, and any pasta shape would do for the bake. Penne would probably be best.
In keeping with my belief that life is too short to make pasta bakes on the day, and especially life with a dog (!), I made the meat sauce the day before I wanted the pasta bake. Meat sauces are always so much better for a day or two sitting around. I cooked the pasta in the morning and assembled the pasta bake ready to be cooked in the evening.
To serve two, with another two for the freezer (or four!) I used :
500g Moose steaks (or diced casserole beef, or venison)
1 large onion
1 stick of celery
2 cloves garlic
1 sprig rosemary
1 450g tin of chopped plum tomatoes
750ml bottle of red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch of basil
200g of dried pasta
1 or 2 oz of grated cheese
Wash the basil and separate the leaves from the stalks. Keep the leaves in a bowl of water until later and finely chop the stalks. Peel and coarsely chop the onion, finely chop the celery and garlic and sweat in 1tb of olive oil for 10 minutes or so, with the chopped basil stalks.. Add the anchovies and push them around the pan until they melt. Then add the diced meat and brown in the pan. Finely chop the sprig of rosemary and add that to the pan too.
Add the tin of tomatoes to the pan and stir, then gently pour in the bottle of red wine and season to taste. Bring to a simmer on the hob and then pop the lid on the pan and pop it into the oven. Because you want to keep the lovely rich sauce, I covered the pan with a sheet of foil before putting the lid on.
Cook in a low oven (140oC / 275oF / gas mark 1) for three and a to four half hours. You want the meat to be meltingly tender, but not over cooked and a dry sauce so adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Cook the pasta for half of its cooking time and then set aside. If you are making the sauce the day before, and pre-cooking the pasta, ensure that the pasta is cold before you add it to the meat sauce.
Tear the set aside basil leaves and add to the meat sauce, and then add the pasta. Turn into an oven proof dish. Add a generous grating of cheese and then cook at 200oC / 400oF / gas mark 6 for 30 to 40 minutes, until the dish is piping hot (depending on the dish and your oven).