Lamb ragu with capers and handmade pappardelle

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I’ve recently tasted the merits of using bone-in lamb meat, as opposed to pre cut chunks you get in the supermarket. The flavour is far more intensely lamby, the colour of the meat a rich deep purpley red. And the price is normally better – so lamb now comes in huge leg-sized portions in this house. But when you’re going to the bother of cooking something lamby and slow cooked you’d be mad not to want leftovers. I’m already imagining a lamb ragu pie…

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This recipe is tweaked from Yvette can Boven’s Home Made book. I mostly just reduced the quantity of liquid to make it suitable for my method using a slow cooker. I also added extra oregano and garlic because I love it with lamb, and replaced fresh for dried rosemary thanks to the useless shops around here. I visited four separate shops (two supermarkets, one specialist upmarket veg grocery and a Turkish supermarket) to find it and couldn’t.

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I actually started making this last night after a dinner of butter bean hummus (see last post) and couscous. I browned the meat, sweated the veg and assembled the ‘stew’, threw it in the (turned off) slow cooker and simply put it on low all day while I was at work – about 11 hours. I made sure to thoroughly heat the lamb ragu through before serving over the handmade and hand cut pappardelle.

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Making the most of rich wintery meals before Spring fully hits us!

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You will need:

For the lamb ragu

1 leg of lamb, bone in, about 1700kg including the bone
2 sticks celery, diced roughly
2 carrots, diced roughly
2 white onions, diced roughly
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbspn dried oregano
2 tbspn dried rosemary
1 tbspn fennel seeds
1 1/2 tbspn coriander seeds, toasted
1/2 cumin seeds
1/2 bottle red wine (of fairly decent quality)
400g chopped tomatoes
2 tbspn capers
Salt, pepper
Olive oil
Parmesan and finest olive oil, to serve

For the pappardelle:

2 eggs
200g tip 00 pasta grade flour
Pinch of fine salt

Method:

1 – Start by butchering up your meat into rough largeish chunks approx 4-5cm cubed, trimming off fat as you go (save the bone to make stock!)
2 – Heat some oil in a frying pan and brown the lamb in batches, seasoning as you go; set the browned lamb chunks aside on a plate while you get on with the next batch
3 – Once all the lamb is sealed and set aside add the onion, carrot and celery to the pan, with a little of the juice that’s seeped from the lamb if you need a little more juice
4 – Soften for 5-8 minutes before stirring in the garlic and then the spices after a few minutes; now add the lamb and tomatoes and mix to combine well
5 – Transfer this mix to your (turned off) slow cooker and pour in the wine; pop the lid on and go to bed!
6 – Wake up in the morning and turn on the slow cooker (use the low setting) and then go out all day; when you return (I came home 11 hours later) the lamb will be juicy and amazing
7 – Once home, transfer the lamb to a saucepan and put on a very low heat until it bubbles, reducing any extra liquid if need be. If you have no extra liquid then you will only need to heat the lamb just before serving.
8 – Meanwhile make the pasta; tip the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, make a well and break in the eggs
9 – Use a fork to start breaking the eggs and stirring in the flour gradually; swap the fork for your hands and bring the flour and egg mix into a dough ball
10 – Knead the dough for 10 minutes until silky and elastic
11 – Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes
12 – When it’s ready, squash the dough into a flat oval, dust with a little flour and run through your pasta machine on the thickest/widest setting
13 – Turn the pasta machine to the next widest setting and run the dough through; turn the machine back to the widest setting and repeat four times until the pasta is long
14 – Dust the pasta and fold up so that it becomes square; turn the pasta and run back through the machine on the widest setting
15 – Run the pasta through right from the next widest setting to the second narrowest (pappardelle should be more robust that tortellini)
16 – Divide the long, rolled out pasta sheet into four equal sheets and cut into strips of around 1.5-2cm wide
17 – To cook, plunge into a large pot of salted boiling water, cook for 2-3 minutes until al dente and drain, reserving a little pasta water to lubricate
18 – Serve with lamb ragu spooned over the top, some shavings of Parmesan and a drizzle of your best olive oil

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5 thoughts on “Lamb ragu with capers and handmade pappardelle

  1. Looks magic. I think it needs a few anchovies in there too. Only because I love them and I effing well love lamb ragout with pasta. I been doing a braised lamb puttanesca with tagliatelle a bit lately. Argh, I want some now…

  2. Mmmm, that sounds lovely. I have recently started making my own pasta and like the idea of parpadelle, especially with this lamb ragu. Will give it a try sometime thanks :)

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