TAGLIATELLE AL RAGU ALLA ABRUZZESE (about 1-1/2 quarts lamb ragu, for six)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder or leg of lamb, cut into 6 or 8 pieces
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, lightly crushed
1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs, such as rosemary or sage
½ cup dry red or white wine, such as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or Orvieto
6 cups canned diced tomatoes, with their juice
1-1/2 pounds tagliatelle (this traditionally is served with maccheroni alla chitarra or a thick spaghetti)
Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano shavings for serving (optional)
Minced fresh hot chile or crushed red pepper flakes, for serving
1.Heat the oil in a 5 to 6 quart Dutch oven or other heavy duty pot over medium high heat until simmering. Season the lamb on both sides with salt and pepper and sear the meat on one side until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn and sear the other side until browned, 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer the lamb to a deep platter.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic and herbs. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Return the lamb and its juice to the pot, raise the heat to medium high and pour in the wine. Cook for one or two minutes and then add the tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low or low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover partially and let the sauce simmer until the lamb is fork tender, about 2-1/2 hours. Using tongs, transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let it cool for a few minutes. Meanwhile, if the sauce seems thin, let it continue simmering until thickened to a saucy consistency. If it seems too thick, add a splash of water.
- Shred the lamb with 2 forks and return it to the pot. Simmer gently until the meat is heated through. Season to taste with salt. (The ragu can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat gently before tossing with the pasta.)
- When ready to serve, bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente (only 2 to 3 minutes for fresh tagliatelle, and 12 to 13 minutes from when the water returns to a boil for dried tagliatelle). You want it to still have some bite because it will continue to cook while you’re tossing it with the ragu. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta. Return it to the pot and toss it with some of the ragu, adding a little cooking water if it seems dry. Serve the pasta with more ragu spooned over the top. Garnish with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, if you like, and serve with minced chiles or red pepper flakes on the side.
from Domenica Marchetti, Fine Cooking Magazine, issue 113