Lamb and Red Pepper Ragù with Pasta

Cold weather makes me want to eat hearty meat-filled meals, and recently I was fortunate enough to get a ½ lamb from Old Pine Farm. Here’s a great hearty winter meal that works wonderfully with the strong flavor of locally raised, free range lamb. Lamb pairs well with the taste of peppers. If you are lucky enough to have one of the Locavorious bags of frozen Tantre Farm incredibly sweet and hot Carmen peppers, this recipe is a wonderful use of them, along with the frozen whole Roma tomatoes.

The recipe has been adapted from Cooking Light’s “Abruzzese Lamb and Red Pepper Ragù with Penne.” I’ve never visited the Abruzzo region of Italy, so if you have let me know if it’s true what foodie people say that the rustic Abruzzee cuisine is an undiscovered treasure of Italian cooking. Home of both mountains and extensive coastline, the Abruzzo region is known for hearty mountain recipes, a lot of seafood specialties, and strong flavorful dishes. To make this recipe even more authentically Abruzzese, use chili peppers to increase the spiciness and use an egg pasta, and to make it more Michivore pick up some handmade pasta from Pasta e Pasta from Diane and Debbie at the Farmers Market or some Al Dente Pasta.

Ingredients

1 T olive oil

2 cups finely chopped red onion

12 oz Locavorious frozen red bell pepper slices (or 3 cups bell pepper slices)

4 teaspoons minced garlic cloves

~ 1 lb ground lamb (other ground meats would work just fine too)

1 cup dry red wine

16 oz Locavorious frozen whole tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

4 bay leaves

~ 2 cups chicken broth

~ 8 cups hot cooked penne (about 1 pound uncooked tube-shaped pasta or other short pasta)

1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Pecorino Romano cheese

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cover and cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add red peppers and cook an additional 6 or so minutes. Remove onion mixture from pan.

Add lamb to pan; cook over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain. Return onion mixture and lamb to pan. Add wine; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.

Add tomatoes, 3 tablespoons parsley, salt, crushed red pepper, bay leaves, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves. (Discard tomato skins if desired.) Add pasta and cheese; toss to coat. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.

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