Friday, October 29, 2010

Mary Had a Little Lamb

She must have, it is in the book. (If that is a quizzical look on your face right now, then that would be the Mary Had a Little Lamb book.) I didn't have a little lamb, I only had two lamb shanks. And I wanted to turn them into lamb ragu. Today the ragu was created, tomorrow the pasta will be made (pappardelle) and all served for a nice meal at home. You will note the recipe calls for rigatoni but I plan on making my own pappardelle pasta. The rigatoni would work just fine, but we had Lamb Ragu with Pappardelle in Prague at Kogo (an wonderful Italian restaurant) so i am trying to recreate that memory.

First, a look at my new recipe holder. OK, so it is just a piece of scotch tape holding the recipe to my kitchen cabinet, but hey, it works. And it is off the limited counter space I have and at eye level, which for my eyes and my progressive bifocals is very helpful.
Ready to make the Lamb Ragu

Next, the lamb was seared, and the various ingredients prepped. 
Let's Cook
After braising in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, the shanks were allowed to cool, and the meat removed from the bone. 

The meat was returned to the sauce, and refrigerated until ready to use tomorrow.

Results will be available over the weekend. Hopefully with more photographs at the request of one of my faithful readers who shall remain nameless, (Liz).

Rigatoni with Braised Lamb Ragù
Bon Appétit | November 1998
Yield: Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 lamb shanks (each about 3/4 pound)
2 cups chopped onions
1 pound small button mushrooms, halved
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2cup dry white wine
3 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in purée

1 1/4 pounds rigatoni pasta

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over high heat. Sprinkle lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Add to pot and brown on all sides, about 12 minutes. Transfer lamb shanks to platter. Add onions, mushrooms, garlic, basil, rosemary and crushed red pepper to pot and sauté until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Return lamb to pot. Add wine and boil until liquid has evaporated, about 6 minutes. Add 3 cups beef stock and tomatoes to pot; return to boil.
Cover pot, transfer to oven and bake until lamb is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Using tongs, transfer lamb to large bowl. Cool 10 minutes. Cut meat off bones into generous 1/2-inch pieces (discard bones). Return meat to sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold; cover and keep refrigerated. Re-warm over medium-low heat before continuing.)
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain well. Transfer pasta to large serving bowl. Spoon sauce over pasta. Serve, passing Parmesan cheese separately.

My comments:

  • I prepared the ragu one day ahead, which I would recommend. Pasta sauce like this always seem to taste better the next day, IMHO.
  • I prepared 1/2 recipe for two of us - adjust accordingly. I had two lamb shanks which weighed in at just over two pounds, from “ It will cost you a pound of flesh” Fresh Market.
  • I used Baby Portobello mushrooms instead of button, hoping for a touch more earthy delight.
  • I use imported canned San Marzano Pealed Whole Tomatoes (Cento Brand) and crushed them by hand before adding to the pot. You have to become one with the food.
  • I also added approximately 1 tablespoon of tomato paste before adding the liquid for additional flavor and richness.


Liz said...

I'm heading to St. Pete tomorrow so I can share in this meal. Looks like it will be fantastic!

Dick said...

Come on down, we will set a place for you.