Friday, 8 February 2013

Fail-safe Lamb Ragu

This is my weekly go-to recipe. It's a crowd pleaser.

I like to use lean mince lamb because I prefer the taste, but you can of course use beef mince. 

My husband loves this dish, it's his favourite and I suppose it's my version of the ubiquitous Spaghetti Bolognese.

The great thing about it is that you can throw anything at this recipe and it's still a winner. I often throw in a handful of spinach, or a tin of butter or cannelloni beans to bulk it out a bit.

Serves: 4

You will need

1 tsp olive or vegetable oil
1 small pack mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons garlic and tomato purée
2 tablespoons dried oregano or thyme
500 grams lean lamb mince
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 500g pack of pasta of your choice (I like DeCecco Farfalle or Penne Rigate)
Cheddar cheese to taste
Salt and pepper
Basil leaves to garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan, add the mince to the pan and break up with a wooden spoon or fork as it browns. Season the mince and add the dried oregano. Once there is no pink meat remaining, add the sliced mushrooms and tomato and garlic purée and cook for a further 3-4 minutes to allow the mushrooms to soak up the mince juices and flavour.

Next add the tin of tomatoes and more seasoning if required. If you are adding beans put them in now. (I sometimes add some more dried herbs at this stage or a pinch of chilli powder and a dash of balsamic vinegar). Combine everything and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for around 20 minutes.

Meanwhile cook your pasta per pack instructions, I like mine al dente normally 8 minutes cooking time). Drain the pasta reserving 1/2  a small cup of the pasta water and add it to the ragu, I find this gives the sauce a nice texture. 

Tip the pasta into the pan of sauce and give it a gentle stir, taste, correct the seasoning. Scatter over a few basil leaves and sprinkle with cheese (if using) before serving. 

Buon Appetito!

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