Last week, during our outing to Eataly, my oldest ordered Gnocchi with a Spring Lamb Ragu that was absolutely amazing.  After tasting his dish, I decided to attempt a recreation.  And so…
Ragu con Agnello
1 1/4 pounds ground lamb
1 carrot, diced small
2 cans diced tomatoes (12oz each)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 pint light cream
About 6-8 dried wild mushrooms (not re-constituted)
Salt, Pepper, Rosemary
Start by sweating the onions and garlic in some olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Once the garlic is fragrant add the carrot and saute about five minutes until softened.  Then add the meat and break apart with a wooden spoon as it browns.
Browning Lamb: Word of Caution – go easy on the oil at first. The Lamb let out a lot of fat
Once the lamb is no longer raw,  add the tomatoes, and about half of the cream.  Stir in well, lower the flame, and allow to simmer.  As with any form of braising, the longer the flavors reduce, the more concentrated they’ll become.  Put the flame as low as you can.  I had enough time to let this simmer a good 4-5 hours.

Note the color the ragu has picked up from the carrot and tomato.  It’s like a burnt Sienna

The photo above was taken approximately mid-way through the reduction process.  Stir occasionally so the ragu doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pan.  About this time, I took two long sprigs of fresh rosemary, removed the needles, and diced them very small.  I also crumbled the mushrooms with my hands and tossed them into the ragu as well.  
Finally, about 15 minutes before plating, add the rest of the cream, test for seasoning and serve.  I like to reserve some of the cream until the end like this because it allows more of a “sauce” for the ragu to stick to the pasta. 
The Finished Lamb Ragu

As I made this, I kept thinking this looks exactly like Bolognese.  I suspect you may notice that too, as you read through this article.  That said, the finished dish tastes nothing like Bolognese as the lamb asserts itself in a completely different manner and the addition of the rosemary is noticeable as well.   The serving bowl…..
Spring Lamb Ragu with Rosemary
With this hearty dish, we decided to open the final bottle of Mastrojanni’s San Pio Super Tuscan that I’d been holding.  This is such a delicious wine.  Suffice to say that it behaved identically to the bottle linked above, which I reviewed this past February. This time around, the tannins seemed more fleshy.  Such a beautiful wine, elegant and seductive.  Great expression of the vintage and delicious with the lamb. 
Mastrojanni’s Super Tuscan, San Pio:  Cabernet & Sangiovese


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