Sunday, September 19, 2010

Basil Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu

Dinner fell in to place so nicely this evening. I picked a bunch of heirloom tomatoes from the garden today - eight different varieties. So I set about to make some tomato sauce. I sautéed some onion and garlic in a pot and added a cup or so of red wine. I cooked it down until the wine was completely evaporated. Into the pot went a bit bowl of the chopped tomatoes along with some thyme, bay leaves and a few handfuls of fresh basil. Salt and pepper were added to taste. This was cooked down for about an hour and then strained through a food mill. The tomato sauce was added back to the pot and cooked down for another hour and a half until the sauce was thick, sweet and delicious.

I was trying to come up with something to make with the sauce when I spied a package of ground lamb in the freezer. Aha! Lamb ragu! I just need some pasta to go with it. Why not make some fresh pasta tonight? So I did. This is a simple pasta dough. I just threw 1 cup of semolina, 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 egg and about a half cup of water into my food processor. I wanted to flavor it up and give it a nice color so I threw in a large handful of basil leaves as well. The dough was kneaded in the processor for a few minutes and then for a minute or two by hand. This was wrapped in plastic and allowed to rest for 30 minutes. I rolled out the pasta into sheets using my pasta roller and then cut wide pappardelle noodles using my pizza cutter.

Here you can see the fresh pasta being gently simmered in a pot of hot water. Some of the green color disappeared on cooking but a subtle basil flavor remained in the pasta.

The ragu was made with some finely chopped carrots, onions and garlic in the sauté pan. The lamb was added and cooked through. The pan was deglazed with a half cup of red wine. The meat mixture was flavored with some corriander seed and dried and fresh rosemary. The tomato sauce was added and the mixture was simmered for about 40 minutes.

Once the pappardelle were cooked, they were tossed in the pan with some of the ragu to coat the noodles. About 60% of the ragu was removed from the pan prior to adding the noodles.

The pasta was plated up and topped with a good portion of more ragu and some freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.

This dish was SO good. Not a morsel was left!