Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Linguine with Slow-Cooked Lamb

Keeping pasta sauce simple allows the flavors of a few tasty ingredients to stand out. Ground lamb and a little pancetta slowly simmered with tomatoes, garlic, and red wine results in a delicious balance of rich flavors, brought out by one key ingredient: time.

The sauce starts with a mirepoix base (chopped carrot, celery, and onion) along with the lamb and pancetta, then the other ingredients are added, and that’s it. Cover it, place it in a low oven, and walk away.

Serves 6

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 oz thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 1-1/2 lbs ground lamb
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped    
  • 1 28-oz can good-quality stewed tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper                     
  • 12 oz dry linguine
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
Mirepoix Vegetables
  1. Preheat the oven to 250° F.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven (or large, ovenproof pot with a lid) over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the carrot, celery, onion, and pancetta, and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the lamb and garlic and cook, breaking up the meat, until the lamb browns and some of the liquid is absorbed, 10 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes with juice, wine, and tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, breaking up the tomatoes, 3 minutes.
Vegetables and Pancetta Beginning to Cook 
Lamb Beginning to Cook 
Browned Lamb
Tomato Mixture Added
  1. Cover the pot tightly and transfer to the oven for 1 hour. Uncover the pot and continue cooking, 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir well to combine. (Fat from the meat will rise to the top.)
Sauce after 1 Hour
Lamb Sauce

  1. Meanwhile, cook the linguine in boiling, salted water until al dente, 9 minutes. Drain and stir into the lamb mixture.
To serve, divide the pasta and sauce among 6 shallow bowls and pass Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table for grating.

Linguini with Slow-Cooked Lamb

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