I found a recipe for a lamb ragu that looked so delicious, I wanted to make my own version right away. The sauce seems complicated but was very fast and easy. The kitchen smelled fabulous and the end result tasted wonderful. You probably have a lot of the shelf ingredients in your pantry right now! I only had to buy the rigatoni and ground lamb. I served it with garlic bread. It is a perfect, satisfying one dish meal.
2 T. extra virgin olive oil (I like California olive oils)
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. ground lamb
1 cup of red wine (use something you would like to drink with dinner!)
1 T. dried oregano
1 28oz. can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided (see “Homemaker Hint” from this post)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1 lb. De Cecco Rigatoni
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the diced onion to the skillet and saute for 6-8 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Next, add the ground lamb. Cook until the lamb has just lost it’s pink color.
Pour the wine into the skillet to deglaze the pan. Scrape any browned bits from the sides of the pan- you will want those to be in the sauce for extra flavor. Next, add the dried oregano, crushed tomatoes, cinnamon stick, brown sugar, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, heavy cream, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of fresh black pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta according to the package directions. Cook the pasta al dente.
Once the sauce has thickened and the pasta is cooked, remove the cinnamon stick from the sauce and add 1 teaspoon of salt to the sauce. Add the pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Cook together for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat, and top with basil and the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.
Homemaker Hint: The fresh basil is crucial. I rarely (probably never) use dried basil, parsley, thyme and rosemary. To chop the basil, stack the leaves on top of each other and roll them up like a cigar. The roll is much easier to chop than loose leaves.