ORZO WITH LAMB (for eight to ten)

1 pound ground lamb

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

28 ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and smooshed with your hands

14 ounce can of diced tomatoes

5 ounces fresh spinach, chopped

1 pound orzo

2 cups chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped

½ cup crumbled feta

  1. In a good sized Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pan, heat the one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until it is shimmering. Add the lamb and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt and a good grinding of black pepper.  Cook, stirring to break it apart until it is nicely browned.  Remove the lamb from the pot with a slotted spoon and drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
  1. Return the pot to the stove top and add the onion and garlic (still over medium-high). Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened and golden, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the spices (cinnamon, oregano, cumin, coriander and red pepper) and cook until they start smelling extremely toasty and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.  Then stir in the smooshed tomatoes.
  1. Cook the smooshed tomatoes in the spices, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Then, add the can of diced tomatoes and 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  1. Add the cooked lamb back to the pot, give it a good stir, then cover the pot and leave it to cook, stirring from time to time, for 20 minutes. At this point, stir in the fresh spinach and cook just a couple more minutes until the spinach is wilted.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste (keeping in mind you’ll be sprinkling just a touch of feta and olives on which will add to the saltiness).
  1. While the lamb and tomatoes are simmering together and marrying their flavors, bring a large pot of well salted water (it should taste like sea water, basically) to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, about 9 to 10 minutes, usually.  Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.
  1. Drain the orzo. Toss the orzo with the 2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice and all of the parsley adding a bit of pasta water at a time if you feel it needs more liquid.
  1. Spread the orzo out on an enormous serving platter. Spoon the lamb and sauce all over the top, then sprinkle with the feta and chopped olives.


from food52.com

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