Lamb and red wine orecchiette
Typically, orecchiette is a 17 mm round and 2.5 mm pasta; translated it means – little ears. The interesting thing is that it is quite thick, so you have to keep in mind that this will always be al dente pasta: by the time the outer part is done, the middle will still be firm, but that, in my mind, is the beauty of this pasta. And there is no better pair to this pasta, than this chunky red wine and meat sauce.
200 g “Morelli” orecchiette pasta
small handful of small basil leaves
30 g finely grated Grana Padano cheese
for the sauce:
20 ml oil for coking
400 g lamb leg piece, cut into 2 cm pieces
50 g celery sticks, very finely chopped
50 g peeled shallots, finely chopped
50 g finely chopped peeled carrot
120 g finely chopped fresh fennel
10 majoram leaves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp anise seeds
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dark muscavado sugar
250 ml red wine
1/4 orange zest, finely grated
small handful of chopped parsley
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
sea salt to taste
some water if needed
Heat oil in a pan until hot. Pat the meat dry and add to the pan, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan in one layer. If you have a big pan, it might be ok to do them in one batch, but if you have a smaller cast iron pan like I do, you have to fry the pieces in two batches. Fry on a high heat until the pieces are brown. Transfer them to a bowl.
When all the meat is cooked, lower the heat to the lowest setting and add celery, carrot, shallots, fennel and salt and sauté for 10-15 minutes. Add the meat, majoram, anise seeds, garlic, and puree. Stir and cook for 3 minutes. Add the wine, turn the heat up to high and boil for 2 minutes or you can even flambé. Then lower the heat to low, add the sugar, zest, salt, pepper and cover. Sautee on low for 4 hours (add some water during this time if needed). Take off the heat and test the meat with a fork. Add the chopped parsley leaves and mix. Check for salt and pepper. Cover and leave on a low heat while you boil the pasta.
Boil the water, add salt and pasta. Boil until al dente, drain, and add to the sauce in the pan. Add 15 g of cheese, mix in and plate - this is for 4 people. Sprinkle more cheese, basil leaves and serve.
Recipe and pictures: Signe Meirane
Camera: Sony Alpha 7s