Aired October 26, 2011
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, half a palmful
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb (a beef and pork mix may be substituted)
2 fresh or dried small red Fresno chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons minced rosemary
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups chicken or beef stock
1 can San Marzano tomatoes, look for D.O.P. on the label or when ripe and in season 10 to 12 fresh plum or Roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 long piece of orange rind
1 pound bucatini or pici (fat spaghetti, not hollow)
Fresh sheeps milk ricotta or shaved Pecorino cheese
Minced fresh mint and flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Heat EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan, in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add fennel seeds and stir; add meat and brown well while crumbling. Add chilis, onions, garlic, and season with salt, pepper and rosemary. Cook to soften onions, 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir until fragrant. Add wine and reduce by half then add stock and tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon. Reduce heat to a simmer, throw in citrus rind to mellow the sauce. Simmer 30 minutes to cook down tomatoes. Discard orange rind.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt and cook pasta to al dente. Just before draining, add 1 cup starchy cooking liquid to your sauce. Drain pasta and toss with sauce to combine, 1-2 minutes.
Serve in bowls topped with fresh or shaved cheese and garnished with mint and parsley.