As Sardinian pasta with braised lamb

Typically in Sardinia, this rustic dish is prepared for lots of people, so it is ideal for those winter gatherings with friends. You will need a whole lamb shoulder on the bone, and best to start this recipe a day ahead, to give the meat enough time to marinate. Fresh pasta, like pappardelle, is a good match for the thick silky lamb sauce, that will have you asking for more bread to scoop the delicious sauce off your plate.

On this occasion, we used the spelt wholemeal pappardelle from Pasta Emila.

Recipe (serves 6)

1.5 kg shoulder lamb, cut into 8 pieces
1 bag spelt wholemeal pappardelle
Plain flour, for dusting
150 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 brown onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 ltr chicken stock
salt, for pasta water
salt and pepper, to taste
25g butter
Lemon zest of 1 lemon
100g pecorino Sardo, freshly grated

Red Wine Marinade
1 bottle full bodied red wine
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
8 black peppercorns

Preparation

The day before combine the red wine marinade ingredients with the lamb, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Remove the lamb one hour before cooking, and set aside to come to room temperature.

Remove lamb from marinade and pat each piece dry. Dust the lamb pieces with flour, shaking off any excess. Add 60 ml of oil to a pan, add the lamb in batches and cook for about 5 minutes, make sure all sides are well browned. Transfer meat to a roasting tin, skin-side down. At this point preheat oven to 180 C.

Wipe your pan clean, add 50 ml of oil to the pan. Allow it to get hot, then add your onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook for around 8 minutes, until soft. Add marinade, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add stock and bring it back to the boil.

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Pour vegetables and liquid over the lamb

Pour vegetables and liquid over the lamb and sprinkle salt over the ingredients. Cover the tin tightly with foil and cook in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. By then the meat should be tender that you can break it apart with a fork. Take the meat out into a bowl and let it cool down. When it is cool enough to handle, tear the meat off the bone and break it into chunks.

Place the roasting tin over two burners and bring it to the boil. Remove the herbs and boil until the sauce thickens like pouring cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Place roasting tin with lamb sauce over high heat

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add your fresh pasta and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the pasta well and reserve some of the cooking water. Add the pasta back to the saucepan, pour the lamb sauce over the pasta and toss well until the pasta is coated well. Add the butter, half the lemon zest, drizzle the remaining olive oil and combine all the ingredients.

Now divide the pasta into your guests’ pasta bowls, sprinkle lemon zest and grate some Pecorino Sardo over the pasta. Serve this Sardinian pasta dish with a bottle of Cannonau or a local full-bodied red wine.

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