Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rigatoni with Lamb Ragu and Bonus Breadsticks

Sunday night we had a grilled leg of lamb for dinner.  Here's the second use for the leftovers.  Stella was not thrilled at the idea when we discussed it over lunch.  She asked if she could just have buttered noodles.  Let's see if I can make this work and pass the Stella test.  

1 lb ground lamb
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup beef stock
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Because we had a large enough leg of lamb, and I knew we'd have leftovers, I asked Chris to keep some of it cooked rare so that I could use it for another meal.  The lamb was butterflied and some sections were a bit thicker than others, so it was not too difficult to have the lamb cooked to different doneness.  
I cut the lamb into smaller pieces and used my grinder attachment on my standing mixer.  
Heat a large pan over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and then the onion and garlic.  Saute until onions are soft and translucent. 
Turn the heat up to high and add the tomatoes.  Cook the tomatoes for a few minutes until they are softened.  Then add the remaining ingredients.  
Turn heat down to medium, cover the pan and bring to a boil.  
Turn heat down to low and continue to simmer the ragu, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes.  
Remove the lid, and simmer the ragu to reduce slightly, about 10 minutes.
One note on the lamb.. of course you can use freshly ground lamb and not a leftover lamb.  If you do, just brown the lamb first and then cook the onions, etc. 

Cook the rigatoni according to package instructions.  
Combine the rigatoni and the ragu and stir to combine.  Finish by adding the parsley and freshly ground pepper.  
We made it past the Stella test, but the hit of the dinner were the breadsticks I made from another second use item.
Last night I made pizzas using Jim Lahey's pizza dough recipe.  I wound up making two portions of the dough because I was worried the first dough I made was not rising properly.  Alas, both doughs came out perfectly and as a result, I had an extra recipe's worth. So, I brushed the dough with olive oil and sprinkled it with parmesan cheese, fleur de sel, and freshly ground black pepper.  Then I cut the dough into strips and baked at 500f for about 8 minutes.  Fantastic!  Best bread sticks ever!

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