We had a little lamb

January 16, 2010

I used to love watching Crossing Jordan on Sunday nights. Her dad had the best accent! But he was usually in hiding because I think he was kind of a shady character. People were always trying to kill him, and then Jordan would try and rescue him by going out to the pier alone at night. Oh Jordan. She never learned. Once she fell down an abandoned mine shaft that started filling up with water. And she was a medical examiner! It made no sense - which was why it was so awesome. A couple times NBC (who I'm totally mad at right now - Team Conan!) did a Crossing Jordan/Las Vegas crossover. Which I never watched. Well, I watched the Jordan parts, but not when Jordan was on Las Vegas. Anyway, so now I'm doing a crossover with my friend Emily, who has a delightful blog called Wild and Crazy Pearl. She and her superfun sister Rebecca came over for dinner - which had to be scheduled a month in advance because they are both very cool and know lots of people and are always doing fun things (I, on the other hand, am not cool, know only 12 people, and will be spending my Friday night putting together Ikea furniture) - and we ate and drank and much merriment was had by all.

Even though lamb isn't really a game meat, people sometimes say that it tastes game-y. So I'm including it in game meat week. (See also: it's my blog and I can do what I want.) Plus it's cute and cuddly like the rabbit from the other day's post.

Lamb with pici, from Mario Batali's Molto Italiano
Serves 6 (he says it serves 4, but we had loads leftover)

Lamb ragu
4 oz. pancetta, chopped
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped (you can chop and add the fronds if you like)
1 carrot, chopped
1 bunch of basil, picked from the stems, and roughly chopped
1 lb. of freshly ground lamb shoulder (yes, I put mine in the meat grinder)
salt and pepper
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (either homemade, or the simple stuff in a can in the tomato aisle)

Pici (a type of pasta)
2 cups semolina flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1 1/4 cups water, room temperature

To serve
Ample amounts of grated Parmesan cheese

Heat a little bit of olive oil in a sturdy dutch oven and add the chopped pancetta. Once it browns, add the onion, fennel, carrot and basil and cook until the veggies are softened, stirring frequently. Add the lamb and continue to stir to allow all the lamb to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan with the wine, making sure to scrape up those browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato sauce, and stir to combine. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and let it cook for at least an hour. Stir occasionally.

To make the noodles, mound the flours on a really large cutting board or countertop. Make a well in the center, and slowly add some water. Swirl in the water with your finger, but still maintain the well-like shape. Add some more water, swirl, etc., etc., until you form a dough. (The amount of water will depend on how humid your kitchen is.) Knead the dough for 10 minutes. Note: this dough is REALLY stiff, and kneading the dough will likely be exhausting. You may need to take a shower afterwards. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it stand for at least 10 minutes before proceeding.

Okay, so now you've rested from all that kneading. Pinch off a 1-inch ball of dough and roll it between your hands to make a snake of dough. This seems like it should be easy - I mean, who hasn't done this same thing with play-doh? But, again, the dough is stiff, and it will seem like quite a process. I highly recommend that you recruit at least one other person to do this with you. You want the pici to be about 1/8 - 1/4 inch in diameter. You'll have long snakes of dough, so cut them into 3-5 inch pieces for easier eating.

To cook the noodles, place in salted boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes. Toss with the sauce, and serve with the Parmesan cheese.


Erin said...

Mmmmm, Henry made lamb ragout last night for dinner that was delightful (aka to die for)! Then I look and Mango Hands ate lamb, too. There must be something lamb-y in the air.