We were catching up on TV shows and binge watching “Worst Cooks in America” on Food Network, and Rachael Ray was helping her contestant to make a lamb ragu over pappardelle.
It looked really good, so I went on the network’s web site and looked for the recipe.
Sooo, I want elsewhere and found several nice options, that I reworked like this…
•1 tbsp unsalted butter
•2 tbsp olive oil
•1 cup diced carrot
•1 cup diced celery
•2 cups diced onion
•2 cups sliced ‘shrooms
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp dried rosemary
•1 tsp dried thyme
•1 tsp dried parsley
•1 tsp garlic powder
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tbsp tomato paste
•1/2 cup red wine
•28 oz can tomatoes
•1-1/2 cup chicken stock
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 tbsp Sherry Vinegar
*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.
Melt the butter with one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan (I used my Dutch oven).
Add the carrot, celery, and onions and cook for five minutes or so, until the veggies have softened a bit.
Add the ground lamb and seasonings, then cook, breaking the lamb up into small bits, until any pan liquids have been cooked off and the lamb is mostly cooked; about five or six more minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste and the wine and cook for another five minutes, until that liquid has been mostly cooked off, five more minutes.
Add the can of tomatoes, along with their juices, and the chicken stock.
Bring to a boil, partially cover the pot, then reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is thickened a bit, 30 minutes.
While the sauce is reducing, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in another pan, then add the sliced ‘shrooms along with the tablespoon of Sherry Peppers Sauce.
Toss the ‘shrooms to coat well with the sauce and the oil and cook, stirring often, until most pan liquids have been cooked off and the ‘shrooms are nicely browned and tender.
Once the lamb sauce has reduced, stir in the ‘shrooms give the sauce a taste.
Add the Seasoned Salt, if you think it needs it and cook for a few minutes.
Give the ragu another taste.
I thought it still needed just a little sumpin’ sumpin’ so I stirred in the tablespoon of sherry vinegar.
Prepare your pappardelle according to package instructions.
Once cooked, drain, then stir some of the ragu into the pappardelle and toss to coat.
Note: I also stirred in some asparagus leftover from making a salad.
Serve the ragu and pappardelle in bowls with additional sauce spooned over and a nice spoonful of the Ricotta on top.
This was a wicked tasty, and really pretty straightforward dinner, and I would easily make this for company.
Sadly, it was just the two of us, so, we had leftovers.
Fortunately, those leftovers, tossed with a bit more of the sauce, a couple of tablespoons more ricotta, then topped with shredded Mozarella and Parmesan, then baked until heated through, made for a truly fine dinner two nights later.
Note: do not try to hold this sauce for much more than two, or mebbe three days in the fridge. Like all lamb dishes, the flavor gets a bit, ermmm, gamey (muttonish?) after a couple of days.
BTW, we totes enjoyed this dinner with one of our favorite red wines: Dragonette Cellars MJM. We visited the winery in the Santa Ynez Valley last spring, and eagerly look forward to our wine club deliveries from them. Check ’em out, you will not be disappointed.
Note: I did not use the MJM for the ragu. I opted for an also very nice, and, quite frankly, much less expensive Malbec.
Save the MJM for sipping with your ragu.
Not a lamb fan? No worries! Feel free to substitute ground beef, pork, chicken, turkey, or even Italian or Portuguese sausage. They will all work wonderfully with this sauce.