I have a thing about lamb.
I also have kind of a weird rule. When I eat out, I order stuff that I either don't want to cook at home, or that I don't cook well at home.
Now, I've cooked lamb at home with various degrees of success. It's been pretty bad, to pretty damn good. Pretty damn good being the exception.
So, I usually order it when I'm at a restaurant that has it.
Actually, I just like to say, "I'll have the lamb." It sounds so chic. Unless it's shanks. A shank of anything is pretty much the opposite of chic.
I've discovered that the kind of lamb I cook the best is ground. Lamb hamburger. I make pretty awesome lamb meatballs.
Mostly because when hubby asks what's for dinner, I can say, "lamb balls." Or, if he's going somewhere for lunch I say, "Don't have the lamb balls. We're having those for dinner." Breaks me up every time.
This is not a recipe for lamb balls.
It's a little more chi chi than that. Lamb Ragu with pasta. Yes, I'm all that.
It's ground lamb, shallots, some seasonings, Worcestershire sauce (what is that anyway?), red currant jelly (don't panic - you can use any red jelly you want and no, I don't know what a currant is) and tomatoes. And pasta. Of whatever shape.
For some reason, any kind of meat that is even remotely exotic - and I count lamb among them - I have to buy someplace upscale-ish. Like Whole Foods, or better yet, a butcher shop. I'll buy hamburger in a tube from some guy in an alley wearing a trench coat. But, lamb? No dice. You can, however, get it in just about every regular ole grocery store and I'm sure it's fine. Really. I won't make fun of you if you buy it there.
Note the following recipe serves 2. I doubled it when I made it, but if there really is just two of you, it's plenty as is.
Lamb Ragu with Pasta
1 1/2 Tblsp. garlic oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 Teas. dried mint
1 Teas. dried oregano
1/4 Teas. crushed red pepper flakes
8 oz. ground lamb
1 14oz. can chopped tomatoes
2 Teas. red currant jelly
1 1/2 Teas. Worcestershire sauce
Salt to taste, plus some for pasta water
Pepper to taste
8 oz. pasta
Fresh mint to garnish - optional
Put your water on to boil in a large pot, for the pasta. Cook the chopped shallot in a saucepan with the garlic oil for 2 minutes. Sprinkle in all the dried herbs and the pepper flakes. Stir around. Add the ground lamb, breaking it up with a spoon till it looses its pinkness. Add tomatoes, jelly, Worcestershire, salt and a good grinding of pepper and give it a good stir. Bring to a boil, then cover it and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
Cook the pasta. When the ragu is done, spoon it on. Garnish with the mint if you feel like it.
By the way, I found red currant jelly at Ralph's.
Note how cute that curly pasta is. I got it at Target. No kidding.
This is a Nigella Lawson recipe from Nigellisima.
I didn't feel like garnishing. I rarely do.
My upcoming novel Flesh of My Flesh stars Delilah, a fictional TV Chef who stirs up a whole lot of trouble and a little food. Probably better than you'll find here. These recipes are inspired by her, my love of food and overall laziness.