So I know that it’s one million degrees outside. And I also know this is a cold weather dish.
But it was cloudy & rainy last week, and I was craving comfort food. It didn’t matter that it was still 95 degrees – I see rain, and I automatically crave pasta. It’s a disease.
And since I’m heading to New York in a few weeks, I thought I would prepare for my upcoming Babbo reservation by making a Mario Batali inspired pasta. I stuck to the recipe for the most part, but added a touch of pesto at the end, along with fresh pecorino. Save this recipe for the winter (or if you’re like me, a rainy day).
Lamb Ragu with Basil Pesto (inspired by Mario Batali’s Egg Pasta with Lamb Sauce)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 bunch basil leaves, finely chopped
1/4 pound pancetta, finely diced
1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into small chunks
Salt and pepper
1 cup dry red wine (Mario uses white, but I prefer red)
1 (12-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes
3/4 pound linguini or pappardelle
1/4 cup basil pesto
1/4 cup pecorino
In a large, fairly deep skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add the onion, carrot, basil and pancetta and cook over medium-high heat until the pancetta fat has been completely rendered. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and add it to the pan, cooking until it is browned. Add the wine, let it cook 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes and 4 cups boiling water. Season with salt and pepper and cook, covered, until the meat is tender. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat and keep it warm, then add the pasta to the sauce and cook until al dente. When the pasta is cooked, return the meat to the pan, stir gently over heat for a few minutes and divide evenly among 4 warmed pasta bowls to serve.
Top pasta with a spoonful of basil pesto & dust with grated pecorino cheese.