Mint and lamb is an exquisite combination, a common one, and also one that never gets old. Due to my recent visit to NYC, I was recalling a time I ate at Babbo and had Mario's beautiful Mint Love Letters - spicy lamb sausage and mint, gently folded into little pasta envelopes, and served in a simple tomato sauce. Delicious. I was craving lamb (big surprise), so I searched for recipes that would satisfy my lamb/mint desire, without much fuss. I discovered Giada's recipe for Lamb Ragu with Mint. It seemed perfect - ground lamb, shallots, garlic, mint, simmering in a tomato sauce with some added ricotta for creaminess - and it was perfect.
It begins with shallots and garlic releasing their essence in warmed olive oil, then adding the lamb until well browned. My favorite part is next - adding a cup of red wine and simmering until reduced by half. The smell was driving me crazy! I added the tomato sauce, simmered again, and then stirred in the torn mint leaves and ricotta until it was smoothed into a beautiful ragu.
I didn't have any rigatoni or tube shaped pasta, so I used mini wheels, which my son loved just for the simple shape of them. Isn't it great how kids can get so much joy out of food in interesting shapes? I have to admit, they were fun. This pasta dish was spot on with the flavors I was craving. It was simple, comforting, and best of all, I enjoyed it with my son as we talked about our day. A perfect end to a weekend.
Lamb Ragu with Mint, Giada De Laurentiis