Quick lamb ragu with linguine (#65)

It was only a matter of time before I returned to something incredibly familiar. And what could be more familiar than a ragu? As much as I love experimenting with food every so often you just want something you know you’ll like.

The original recipe is for two, so below is a write up of what I did which is more or less doubled to accommodate my need to precook my meals for a whole week. It’s still keeping me going!

Some tweaks that I’ve made to the original Nigellissima recipe include not doubling the amount of redcurrant jelly along with all the other ingredients. I find a ragu with a strong sweet edge a meal you can have once, and once only. I also was constrained by what Waitrose would let me deliver at short notice, so sadly none of the exciting Mafaldine pasta for me.

Nevertheless, it’s always good to have a strong recipe in your repertoire that’s familiar but different. Give it a go!

Good things: familiar but not the ragu you’d have every day

Bad things: the recipe is quite pasta heavy, and relatively ragu light.

Ingredients & requirements: serves 4-5

  • 3 tablespoons of garlic oil
  • 2 shallots (echalion or banana)
  • 2 teaspoons of dried mint
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 0.5 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
  • 500g minced lamb
  • 2 tins of chopped  tomato
  • 2 teaspoons of recurrent jelly
  • 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 400g pasta (I used linguine, but Nigella wanted something more exotic like mafaldine or pappardelle)
  • Fresh mint for serving if you fancy

Preparation

  1. Make sure that a large pan of salted water is ready to boil for the pasta later.
  2. Put the herbs and chilli aside in a small bowl:
    1. 2 teaspoons of dried mint
    2. 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
    3. 5 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
  3. I’d get out the chopped tomatoes, redcurrant jelly, Worcestershire sauce just so you don’t have to go searching for them when they’re needed.
  4. I like to weight and set aside my pasta. In this case I weighed the linguine in a large glass and split it in two.
  5. Peel and chop up 2 shallots, and leave it on the chopping board ready to go straight into the pan.

Cooking

  1. Warm the 3 tablespoons of garlic oil in a large deep pan (with a lid). Then cook the 2 chopped shallots for 2 mins.
  2. Sprinkle in the herbs and chilli and stir them into the shallots.
  3. Then straight after add the 500g of lamb mince, stirring to break it up with a wooden spoon for 3-4 mins until it loses its pinkness.
  4. Add the following, give a good sitr and bring to ubble. Cover with thee lid and let it simmer for 20 mins:
    1. 500g minced lamb
    2. 2 tins of chopped tomato
    3. 2 teaspoons of recurrent jelly
    4. 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    5. Pinch of Salt and pepper
  5. Put the 400g of pasta timed to finish just before stage 4 is done. I’d cook for maybe a minute under cooking instructions, or if it gives you a range maybe only cook for the bottom end of that range.
  6. Once the 20 mins of simmering is up, drain the pasta, although don’t worry if it’s still pretty wet, and add it to the ragu.
  7. Divide and serve. Sprinkle a bit of fresh mint over the top for serving if you fancy.

Reflections:

Starting with the bad end of things, I do think the recipe could cut back on the pasta slightly. And for me to say that is quite something. I agree that lamb mince doesn’t quite invite a “bottomless appetite” as beef mince does, but eventually my bototmless appretite for pasta in it’s place was also tested.

Nevertheless, this is a wonderfully herby and tasty ragu. Being able to throw it together in just over 30 mins is far from the only plus side of this great little dish, but definitely the thing that might make you consider trying it for your next kitchen-based activity.

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