Monday, May 23, 2011

Homemade Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu

As I stand at the counter typing this, Stella is behind me rolling fresh pasta.  The sun is out, filling our kitchen with light, Maggie is working on some complicated math homework and Pacino is bathing in the sunlight in the pathway between the pasta roller and the towels where Stella is laying out the rolled pasta.  It is a little slice of perfect.  


Discussion has occurred over type of pasta, thickness of pasta and sauce.  Lamb, perhaps not a first choice amongst the kids, will hopefully pass the mustard with the ownership of the pasta making.  A little crispy pork product probably doesn't hurt either.


1 lb Lamb shoulder, finely chopped, I used Kosher lamb today
4 oz finely diced pancetta or bacon
1 small sweet onion, finely diced
2 small carrots, finely diced
2 small celery stalks, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1.5 tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
leaves from one sprig of fresh rosemary
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
dollop of mascarpone
I cut the lamb shoulder into small pieces, 1/3", then used my large cleaver to chop it a bit more.  Quite small pieces, but not quite to consistency of ground meat.  
In a heavy enameled cast iron pot, cook pancetta or bacon until crispy.  Remove all but 1 tbsp fat, and add in the lamb and cook until browned.  Then add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and cook until softened.  Then add the tomato paste, bay lead and rosemary, stir to incorporate.  Deglaze with red wine and beef stock and bring to a simmer.  Cover and simmer over low heat for about 1.5 hours or until lamb is very tender.  Uncover, turn heat up to medium high to reduce sauce slightly.  Add mascarpone and still until incorporated.  Add ground black pepper to taste.
For the pasta, we followed a basic 1 cup flour to 2 eggs recipe.  We did 2 cups flour, 4 eggs, knead until dough is baby bottom soft.  Divide into 12 balls.  Using a pasta roller, roll each piece in turn.  That is, starting at the # 1 setting, roll all the pieces of dough, then go onto # 2, roll out all the pieces of dough, etc.  Stella rolled them to the #5 setting.  Lay the dough on clean towels to keep them from sticking.   Let the sheets dry slightly so that you can cut them without the noodles sticking together.  They need to be pliable, but not sticky and not hardened.  Flip the sheets a couple of times so each side can get equal drying.  Cut into wide pappardelle noodles with a pasta cutter or a pizza cutter.  


Cook pasta for 1.5 minutes.  Ladle a bit of ragu on top.  I broiled some oyster mushrooms with olive oil, salt and pepper to add to the dish.  Finish with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.  Luscious.  



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