Lamb Ragù

This is a simple, rustic dish that is amongst the tastiest things in my repertoire. Meat cooked for hours has a universal appeal in my house, and when alongside a rich, flavour filled sauce with pasta becomes something of a taste sensation. I cook this dish often, using all manner of different meat and ingredients. This recipe is the dish at its simplest – you lose nothing in flavour and it’s pretty much fail safe. Try this!

INGREDIENTS: (serves 4)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large lamb hind quarter shanks
1 large onion (diced)
1 large carrot (diced)
2 celery stalks (diced)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
200ml white wine
1 litre beef stock (hot)
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

DIRECTIONS:
In a large casserole pan with a lid, heat the butter and oil over a moderate heat until hot. Add the lab shanks and cook for 4 minutes on each side turning to brown all the meat well. Remove from the pan. To the pan, add the onion, carrot and celery. Cook for 4 minutes until soft before adding the garlic, oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and then pour in the wine. Sizzle for 2-3 minutes to reduce the liquid.

Pour in the beef stock and bring to a simmer. Return the meat to the pan and reduce the heat to low to get a slight simmer. Simmer gently for 2-3 hours (lid on), turning the meat occasionally until it’s falling off the bone.

Carefully remove the meat from the pan and place on a large board. Using a sharp knife and fork, remove the meat from the bone and shred into smallish pieces. Discard any fat, gristle and bone. Set aside the meat.

Using a stick blender, blend the cooking liquid into a thick creamy sauce, the consistency of double cream. Reduce if necessary.

Return the meat to the pan, add the parmesan and stir through.

SERVING:
Cook some pasta – Fettucini and Papardelle work well, but also rigatoni, penne and spaghetti. Toss the cooked pasta amongst the ragù and ensure each ribbon is coated well. Dish up and sprinkle generously with more parmesan, black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Substitutes:
This dish works well with other meats, rabbit (reduce cooking time), Osso Bucco and Stewing beef are some of my favourites.
I also mix up herbs I use – whichever falls out of the cupboard first. Oregano, Marjoram, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Sage and/or Basil.

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