Spicy Venison Sausage Pasta

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I have been wanting to make this recipe for the past few weeks since I came across it on Pinterest, and tonight was the night. This dish is a winner and I will definately be  making it again. The original recipe uses turkey sausage, and can be found over at Kevin and Amanda’s blog. I made a couple tweaks and  followed the recipe using venison bratwurst made with my deer last year. The brats were made with a sausage kit and have hash browns and onion mixed in with the venison to add flavor. This pasta was delicious but it does pack some heat, but nothing overwhelming as long as you stick with the mild Rotel. I was skeptical about using the entire can, but am glad I did. If you don’t like some spice, this is not for you : )

Spicy Venison Sausage Pasta

  • (2) venison bratwurst
  • 1  1/3 c uncooked rotini pasta
  • 1 can Rotel, mild (10 oz.)
  • 1 can chicken broth (14.5 oz)
  • 1/2 c Half and Half ( I use fat-free)
  • 1 c. Three Pepper Cheese= colby jack
  • 1 c. diced yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 T. diced Green onion
  • 1 T. olive oil

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1. Pour 1 T. olive oil in medium saucepan and saute diced onion and garlic with brats. I kept my brats whole at this point, as in the past when I have sliced them into round pieces first, they have gotten burnt and chewy.

2. Once onions/garlic are tender (3-4 minutes), remove from pan and set aside. At this point, the brats should be expanding and beginning to brown.

3. Now it is safe to slice brats into 1/4-inch round pieces and return to frying pan. Add about 1/3 c water to pan so that brats continue to cook for 7-10 more minutes without burning.

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4. Add onions/garlic back into pan, along with the can of Rotel, can of chicken broth, half and half, and pasta, salt and pepper, and allow to rise to a low boil. Your half and half will curdle slightly and then combine into the mixture–I was worried at first adding the cream here, but it turned out fine.

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5. Keep at a low boil until pasta is tender, about 8 minutes.

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6. Remove from heat, sprinkle with 1 c. cheese, and cover with lid to melt the cheese. Sprinkle with green onion* and enjoy!

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*Garden Tip!! Green Onions can be diced and the extra can be frozen in an empty plastic water bottle so that when you need just a sprinkle, you can pour the onions out frozen and be on your way with zero waste! I used green onion left from our garden this summer in this dish.

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Making Your Own: Venison Breakfast Sausage

What can I say, nothing beats homemade breakfast sausage that tastes as good or better than the storebought variety. While I know it is not always possible to do for a variety of reasons ranging from cost to time to lack of space, I also really appreciate being able to be a part of the entire hunting process, from the harvest to the processing to putting the meal on the table. Yesterday Joe and I made 18 lbs. of venison breakfast sausage with his late whitetail buck. He is a very nice older deer who will eventually have a place on our wall, and as such, we decided not to just cut steaks or make burger (which we have enough of from my elk to get us through the year), but to make sausage.

Using this kit, the Mountain Man Original Breakfast Sausage kit from Hi Mountain Seasonings, we used 12 lbs of venison that we had already previously grinded, and added in 6 lbs of grinded pork. For the best flavor at a cost-effective rate, we typically buy pork butt roasts (“Boston butts”) to add in with the venison when making summer sausage and breakfast sausage.  We bought 4 pork butt roasts from Smith’s during our trip to the big city last weekend using my Smith’s card, and after trimming them of excess skin, ground them up for a total of 22 pounds of pork for right around $50.

We added in both of the included pouches of seasonings into the vension/pork meat mixture and combined them together in the electric mixer for about 5 minutes. Last year when we followed the instructions pound-for-pound using a different flavor, we found our sausage to be very bland, and this year it is perfect, so I would recommend adding in a little more seasoning than is called for to get the best results.

Let the photo above be a reminder of how important it is to label what you process because even though you think you will remember the difference between the white bags and white with black bags six months from now, there is a good chance you won’t. Same with steaks and such– I opened an unlabelled vacuum-sealed package a few months back to find that it wasn’t leftover ground bratwurst as I had planned, but unknown-species steaks!

Typcially the game processing for us goes something like this: let meat hang in shop, butcher, wrap steaks using vacuum sealer, process immediately or freeze remaining meat to grind and then process later (1 week- 1 month later) into one of the following: burger, breakfast sausage, summer sausage, snack stick, trail bologna, and this year even pepperoni,which I cannot wait to try! Homemade pizza recipes to come!

If you have the resources available or can team with someone else who does, I highly recommend making some of this breakfast sausage. Also, slowly adding to your meat processing equipment year by year is a good way to gradually build up, without breaking the bank. A vacuum-sealer one year, grinder the next, etc. will go a long way toward enabling you to process your meat yourself. We are fortunate to be able to team with both sets of parents in sharing equipment, so that everyone benefits in the end. If your family lives close, meat processing equipment makes great gifts, just a thought for those holiday shoppers out there!