One thing I like about cold weather is cold weather food…spaghetti and meatballs, meatloaf, roast chicken, chicken and dumplings, eggplant Parmesan, butternut squash ravioli…it all works. One of my favorites is gnocci, which I buy frozen from a locally produced brand, Genova, and cover in a lamb ragu type sauce. It’s lovely.Â (Can I claim cold weather when our high yesterday was in the mid to high 50s?Â No?Â Well, it was foggy at least, which gives a certain damp cold feeling to the day.)
So, for your dining pleasure, I thought I’d post the recipe I use for the sauce. The recipe is from my trusty pasta cookbook, Pasta Fresca, by Viana La Place & Evan Kleiman.
Ragu d’Agnello, aka Lamb Sauce.
3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 tblsp chopped Italian parsley
1/2 tsp red chile pepper flakes
3/4 lb freshly ground lean lamb (I use 1 lb)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 lbs ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and pureed (I use canned, esp. in winter. 1 28 oz can works for me.)
1 lb imported rotelli (nope, I prefer it on gnocci)
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (I prefer Parmisano Reggiano, so I use it.)
Combine the extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, rosemary sprigs, parsley, and red chile pepper in a large saute pan. Cook over low heat for several minutes or until the garlic releases its fragrance. Add the lamb and saute gently until the meat loses its raw color. (At this point, I drain off the fat from the lamb.) Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine, raise heat to medium, and cook until the wine evaporates. Add the pureed tomatoes. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the tomatoes thicken into a sauce, about 20 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprigs. Cook the rotelle (or gnocci) in abundant salted boiling water. Drain well and toss with the sauce. Serve with Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parm, if you prefer!)