Friday, December 27, 2013

Lamb and Mushroom Winter Ragu over Pappardelli [Zack]

It's winter.  Whether you like being out in the cold or not, most people agree that comfort food is best eaten looking out of your window and being happy that you are inside and warm.

This pasta dish squarely sits in the "comfort food" section of my recipes.  Each ingredient is added with the intent of boosting the umami factor.  I suggest getting a whole lamb shoulder from the butcher and to cube the meat yourself.  You'll save tons of money and plus you'll get to throw the bone into the pot to add even more flavor!!

You'll notice that fish sauce is in the recipe.  This is the secret ingredient that adds deep and bassy flavors to Thai or Asian cooking.  A touch of it will make a huge difference, and as long as you don't overdo it, you'll never notice any fishy flavor.


Wash and slice the mushrooms, and slice the red onions into moon slivers.  Cube the shoulder meat into roughly 1 inch chunks, keeping the bone.

Place a pot with a lid or a dutch oven over medium heat.  Brown the lamb on one side only, in a little bit of canola oil in batches.  For a scientific detailing on how your meat will retain more moisture, please see Kenji's explanation.

Transfer the lamb cubes to a plate, and toss the mushrooms and onions into the pot.  Add a bit more oil if needed.  Let these cook for about 5 minutes.

Then add the lamb back in, along with the bone.

The dried mushrooms, the red wine, 1tsp fish sauce, and the tomato puree all can join the party now.  Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 3-4 hours.  Remember to stir it every once in a while so you won't get burned bits sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Your ragu should darken and thicken up noticeably.  Taste, and see if it can take more fish sauce.  I normally put about 2tsp in.  Adjust the salt and sugar (if needed).  To test if the ragu is finished, pull out a piece of lamb and see if it falls apart like pulled pork.

Take the bone out, salvage any good meat on it with your fingers, and throw the meat back in like you're a professional fisherman.

I like to serve the ragu over wide noodles that the sauce will get clingy.  I topped mine with some grated pecorino.

3 lb / 1.5 kg lamb shoulder
1 lb / 500g assorted mushrooms
1/2 cup dried mushrooms
2 medium red onions
2 cups red wine
3 cups tomato puree
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1-2 tsp fish sauce, to taste

pappardelli or other wide noodles
grated pecorino cheese

Song:  Mystikal - Bouncin Back
Bouncin' Back (Bumpin' Me Against the Wall) by Mystikal on Grooveshark

1 comment:

  1. That looks AMAZING!!! I will be trying it very soon! I would love to see more recipes with lamb!