January 8, 2011

Farfalle with Lamb, Basil and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

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For us, Friday nights are usually a good time to try out new recipes. They're also a good time drink lots of wine - which is helpful if we bomb the new recipes that we're trying out. Fortunately, this one turned out pretty well!

This Friday, we tried a variation on one of our favorite easy-to-make pasta dishes - Tagliatelle con Salsiccia (Tagliatelle with Sausage, Basil and Sun-Dried Tomatoes), from Mario Batali's Molto Italiano.

While Tagliatelle con Salsiccia uses sweet Italian sausage and fresh tagliatelle, we decided to try it with farfalle (bow tie pasta) and ground lamb instead, and added some mushrooms. And wow, were we pleased with the result. The lamb gives the dish a different richness, and the farfalle holds the sun-dried tomato ragu nicely. Since it's still very easy to prepare, this new dish is a great addition to our weekly dinner repertoire.

Herbie recommends DeCecco pasta, and reminds us to cook it for a minute less than package directions for true al dente!

Preparation for this is pretty easy, and since it cooks fairly quickly it's best to get all your chopping done ahead of time.

Making the Dish
What You'll Need
1/2 lb Farfalle pasta
1/4 cup sliced sundried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb ground lamb
5 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
2 tbsp olive oil
bunch of basil
salt and pepper to taste

Slice up 4 - 6 sundried tomatoes into nice thin strips. Thinly slice 4 garlic cloves, and the mushrooms as well, and use as much of these as you like. Cut up a handful of fresh basil into a chiffonade.

Break up about half a pound of ground lamb (or turkey, pork, veal, beef, chicken....tofu.... whatever you're in the mood for) and season it with salt and pepper

Boil up a pot of salted water, and drop in your pasta. Cook to about 1 minute shy of the package directions.

Pour a quarter cup of olive oil into a non-stick pan. Heat it up, and then drop all of your chopped ingredients in except the basil. Feel free to add some crushed red pepper if you want a little extra kick.

Saute your veggies and after a few minutes drop in the meat, and season with some fresh ground pepper. Stir it around and let it get nice and browned. The sundried tomatoes and mushrooms should be softened at this point. Take care to not burn your garlic.

Add the wine. You'll want about half a cup. If you're making this with lamb, veal, or beef, use a red wine. Otherwise, use a white. Stir everything up and let the wine start to cook down.

Drop in about 5 tablespoons of tomato paste and mix it all together. You should have a real thick ragu going on now. If it looks too thick, add some more wine.

Let it simmer and finish up the pasta. When the pasta's done, pour it out and rinse it off. Rinse out the pot and put the pasta back in.

Toss the pasta with the ragu and the basil. Get it all stirred around and coated nicely.

    You're done. Put it in a plate or bowl and top it off with some grated pecorino romano or parmesan. Enjoy!

    The Result

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