I was ready to spend the entire day indoors until my phone rang. It was the Dr. asking me if I was interested in having some lamb ragÃ¹ for dinner. When he invites you over for a home-cooked meal, you just go. He’s one of the best cooks I know who can move in the kitchen like no one’s business. If you watch me cook, I’m all over the place, stressing out and trying to make sure I’m getting every step right. He makes cooking less of a chore and the end product is always top-notch.
This lamb ragu from The New York Times Sunday Magazine is one of those recipes you keep and do over and over until you can cook it with your eyes closed. It was hearty and deliciously gamey in flavor, so after a big dump of snow here in the east coast, I wanted to make my own.
They say patience is a virtue and you’re going to need a lot of it for this dish. The key is for everything to be a deep brown color. It’s a sign that all the flavors have been concentrated.
While you do this recipe on your own, here’s a video of my version simmering.
3 pounds ground lamb leg or shoulder
1 small can of tomato paste
3 cups red wine
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs of rosemary, removed from stem
half a bunch of thyme, tied in a bundle
farfalle, cooked al dente
garlic bread, toasted
1. Using a large Dutch oven, heat some olive oil over medium heat. SautÃ© garlic until light brown. Add the onions until translucent. Add the vegetables, season with salt and cook until all the water has evaporated and the vegetables begin to brown, about 18 minutes. Stir frequently.
2. Add ground lamb, season generously with salt and cook until it is browned, about 25 to 30 minutes. Everything should be a deep brown towards the end.
3. Add the tomato paste and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the red wine, rosemary and bay leaves. Cook at a lively simmer until the wine has reduced by half. Add the thyme bundle and enough water to cover the lamb by about 1 inch. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring and tasting frequently and adding more water as it evaporates. Remove the bay leaves and thyme when cooked. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. To serve, pour over farfalle that’s been cooked al dente. Grate Parmesan all over. Add toasted bread on the side.