Spring Lamb Ragu with Lemon and Olives

Aired April 21, 2011

Serves Serves 4
2 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 stick cinnamon
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
Zest of 1 lemon, juice of half, divided
3/4 cup good quality pitted Sicilian green olives, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 pound egg tagliatelle or fettuccine
1/4 cup finely chopped mint
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
Freshly grated Pecorino cheese

Heat EVOO in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Pat meat dry and add to the hot pot a in single layer. Cook a minute or 2 then break up and continue to crumble until well-browned. Add onions, garlic, cinnamon stick and bay, and season with salt and pepper. Cook to soften veggies, 5 minutes, then stir in lemon zest, olives and tomato paste. Stir 1 minute then add wine and deglaze. Stir in stock and reduce heat to a low simmer while you boil water and cook pasta.

Bring a large pot of water to boil for pasta. Add salt and cook pasta to al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup water just before draining.

Add lemon juice to ragu. Combine with pasta, starchy water, half of the mint and parsley. Serve in shallow bowls topped with cheese and remaining herbs.

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