It’s cold. VERY cold. Eat this and be warm.
I should probably say a little more than that, but that’s really the whole point of this recipe. For me this is such a Sunday lunch thing. It takes a bit of time, but really not much work. Slow cooking rocks, just put it on and let it do it’s thang. Fresh pappardelle is hands down my favourite pasta. It takes me back to my time in Perugia where the local specialty was wild boar with pappardelle spiked with spicy black pepper. I’ve run with it ever since! Alas, my local butcher was out of Umbrian Wild Boar (what are they good for, really?) so lamb shanks it is. But really, who can complain about meltingly tender lamb that you could eat even if you didn’t have any teeth? Not I.
Serves 4 hungry folk.
For the pasta:
- 4 eggs
- 400g durum wheat flour + extra for dusting
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
Make the pasta in your preferred method. For me, it’s by hand. So combine all the dry ingredients and tip them on to your surface and make a well in the center. Crack in the eggs, then gradually work the flour into the eggs until you have a dough forming. Remember, every time you work with flour you may need a little more, or a little less. So feel the way your dough is coming together and incorporate the flour gradually. I work the dough for at least 10 minutes to get that gluten working – your dough needs to have some bounce back. Once it’s at that point, wrap it in cling and let it rest at least half an hour.
After it’s rested, either roll it by hand, or through a pasta machine ensuring you laminate (fold it over on itself) at least 4 times – again to help that gluten work. Once it’s gorgeously thin, cut it in to 1 inch/3cm ribbons and hang to dry. You can dust with flour and leave in clumps, but my kitchen gets so stuffy that it usually ends up sticking together if I do that. NOTE: the broom handle was cleaned prior to use! Now take a step back and admire your speckled ribbons of wonder!
For the ragu:
- 4 large lamb shanks
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 1 zucchini, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 4 anchovies
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ¼ cup of dried porcini, rehydrated
- 1 cup of full-bodied red wine
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- A bouquet garnet of 2 bay leaves, thyme, parsley stalks, oregano, rosemary and orange zest strips.
- 1 litre of chicken stock/vegetable stock/water
- Olive oil
- Salt, sugar and pepper to taste
- Fresh flat-leaf parsley to serve
Preheat oven to 140 degrees. Over a high heat, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in large, oven-safe pan. Season the lamb shanks well and brown. Brown them really well; this will give you super flavor in the end product. Once browned, set aside.
Drop your heat to a more medium/high level and in the same pan, cook off the onion, celery, carrot, zucchini, garlic and anchovies with a little salt and pepper. There’s no need to chop the anchovies, they will just melt into the vegetables making them extra delicious. Once the vegetables are softened add the chilli flakes, porcini (and the water they were reconstituted in) and tomato paste and cook off for another few minutes.
Add your wine and cook to burn off the alcohol – at least until it’s reduced by half. Add the tinned tomatoes and bouquet garnet and stir to combine. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add your stock or water and stir to combine, and then add the sealed lamb shanks (plus any juices) back to the pan so they are submerged. Cover with a lid and place in the preheated oven. Allow this to cook, slowly for 2-3 hours or until the lamb shanks are falling away from the bone. Check on it every now and then to make sure it remains moist, if needed add a little water. You are after a thick, juicy sauce though.
When the ragu is cooked allow it to cool slightly before you remove the lamb shanks. Remove the meat from the bones and shred it back in to the sauce – not too finely though, you want it chunky and delicious. Check your seasoning – it usually needs some salt, pepper and a little sugar – then keep it warm while you prepare the pappardelle.
Cook the pappardelle in plenty of boiling salted water and combine with your luscious lamb shank ragu. This dish is so incredibly rich that parmesan at this point would be an absolute sin. Just some fresh flat leaf parsley and a glass of a Coonawarra Cabernet. I was lucky enough to enjoy this with a bottle of Murdock Reserve 2006 Cabernet – a beautifully layered wine with firm tannins and a great minty earthiness typical of Coonawarra.
Winter ain’t so bad, right?
What’s your favourite winter warmer? Let us know on Twitter @bonvivantblog. If you have any questions about this or other recipes just shoot me an email: email@example.com