There’s a phrase which comes to mind on days such as this, on days when the outside temperature is slated to hit a balmy 50 degrees, even though the ground is blanketed in a thick layer of snow and ice. “Close, but no cigar,” is how it goes. I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but through some research I’ve come to believe it has something to do with how close to the mark you can get. If you hit a bullseye, you win a cigar.
This time of year, the weather is so unpredictable that I’d have to say the likelihood of winning a cigar at the county fair is nigh impossible. Instead, take a deep breath and accept that even though Punxatawny Phil didn’t see his shadow on February 2, sandal season is a ways off. That means you should whip up some warm and cosy comfort food like a bowl of this satisfying lamb ragu with wide ribbons of pappardelle pasta.
Don’t worry too much. Spring will come, eventually. It always does.
Lamb Ragu with Pappardelle Recipe
2 pounds ground lamb
2 T olive oil
2 onions, chopped into 1/2 inch dice
2 large carrots, peeled, trimmed, cut lengthwise into quarters and diced
2 celery stalks, trimmed, cut into 1/2 inch dice
10 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped from stems, minced
2 bay leaves
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 ounce can tomato paste
1 package pappardelle pasta or other pasta of choice
In large Dutch oven or heavy pot, brown lamb on medium high heat until there is no pink. Remove lamb to clean bowl.
Lower heat and add diced onions, carrots, and celery to pot. Sauté vegetables until onions are golden and translucent. Add olive oil when necessary to keep from burning.
Add garlic to vegetable mixture and sauté for 30 seconds. Sprinkle rosemary and bay leaves over vegetables, and stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, and wine. Return lamb to pot. Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for 45 minutes, until sauce begins to thicken.
While sauce is cooking, prepare pasta according to package directions.
Serve pasta in warmed bowls topped with lamb ragù.