Healthy Living - Jessica Nguyen's Lamb Ragu Pappardelle
1.5kgs of lamb meat with bones- ask for lamb off cuts from your local butcher, otherwise lamb chops and lamb shoulder can also work
½ cup of plain flour- to dust the lamb meat
2 red onions (brown onions will do if you can’t find them)
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 stick of celery
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 bottle of red wine. You’re going to use half the bottle for the sauce and the other half to enjoy with your pasta once it’s done.
Herbs of your choice- I used a mix of thyme, rosemary and oregano from my garden.
2 cans of tomatoes
4 bay leaves
½ a block of Parmigiano Reggiano or parmesan cheese. You’re going to use the rind for the sauce and grate the rest for serving.
Optional- 1-2 cups of vegetable stock
1 bunch of basil- for the sauce and for serving on top at the end
1 packet of Pappardelle pasta
3 tablespoons of Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celsius.
Place your lamb meat onto a tray and dust all sides of the meat with flour until fully coated.
Heat a large pot with some oil and once hot, begin to sear all sides of the lamb until golden brown. Cook only a couple of lamb pieces at a time in the pot and don’t overcrowd the pot otherwise you won’t get nice browning, as the oil will reduce in temperature and you’ll end up steaming your meat instead. Once golden brown, place onto a tray lined with paper towel, whilst you prepare the sauce and sofrito.
A ‘sofrito’ is a mixture of normally onion, garlic, carrot and celery finely diced and sautéed and used as a base in soups and steps to add flavor. For the sofrito, finely chop your onions, garlic, carrot and celery. Heat the same pot you seared your lamb in with some oil and once hot, add the onion and crushed garlic and cook on medium for 5 minutes until the onions become translucent and have ‘sweat’ out their juices and flavor. Then add your carrot and then celery and continue to fry in the pot until all ingredients have ‘sweated’ out. At this point I also add in fresh herbs like thyme and oregano to add to the flavor. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute until fully mixed through the sofrito.
Add your lamb back into the pot, add some rosemary stalks and add your red wine to the pot. Cook for approx. 2 minutes or until the alcohol has evaporated.
Add your canned tomatoes to the pot, as well as your parmesan rind, bay leaves and any remaining herbs. I normally use thyme, oregano and basil stalks. Also if the ragu feels quite thick, now would be the time to add in some vegetable stock to thin out the ragu as it will reduce during the slow cook in the oven.
Cover the pot with a lid and place into your oven and cook for approximately 3 hours or until the meat easily comes off the bones. Check in with with the ragu every 30 minutes as slow cooking times fluctuate from oven to oven.
Once your ragu is cooked, it should be deep brown in colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Once cooled down, remove the lamb from the sauce onto a tray and remove any other items that you no longer want in your sauce such as: bay leaves, herb stalks and parmesan rind.
Remove the bones from the meat and shred the lamb meat with two forks. Once shredded, place the lamb meat back into the ragu and stir to combine.
Heat a large pan with oil and once hot, ladle 2-3 spoonfuls of the ragu mixture into the hot pan. Stir until it bubbles back to boiling point.
Meanwhile, boil another pot of salted water and once boiling add your pappardelle and cook until al dente (5-10 minutes depending on your pasta). Drain your pasta but reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
Add your pasta to the pan with the ragu and gently toss the pappardelle in the ragu sauce. Add a ladle of the pasta water to help bind the sauce.
Cook for another minute so the pasta can absorb the ragu sauce and then plate.
Serve with fresh basil and freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese.