The ragu, compared to the pasta, is a breeze.
The meal, taken together, is divine. Genius.
Remember a few posts back when I said I couldn’t think of anything to do with my mint bush? Well, this recipe took care of that. I now no longer have a mint bush. I’m praying for it to grow back so I can make this again!
Step 1: Make the ragu
Season 1 lb lamb shoulder, cut into 1 inch chunks, with salt and pepper, and add to 1/4 c hot olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan (with lid) over high heat. Sear on all sides, and remove to a plate. Add chopped carrot, onion, 1 stalk celery, 4 cloves garlic, and 1/2 bunch thyme (on stem, tied with twine). Reduce heat to medium high and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 c red wine, 16 oz can peeled tomatoes crushed by hand plus juice, and deglaze the pan. Bring to a boil and return meat to pan. Simmer for 1 1/2 hrs until meat is extremely tender.
Step 2: Make the mint tagliatelle
Blanch 1 c mint leaves in boiling water for 45 seconds, plunge in ice bath. Now, Mario says here to puree in food processor. Perhaps I have the world’s lamest food processor but I could not process 1 c mint leaves for the life of me which is probably why my tagliatelle is speckled and not solid green. I did my best and chopped the mint as finely as I could.
Add the mint to 4 large eggs, 1/2 t olive oil, and dump the wet ingredients into a “well” created in the middle of a pile of 3 cups flour. Keep 1/2 cup on hand if you need more flour; however, I found this to be dry enough already and had to add water to keep the dough sticky. Using a fork, mix the wet ingredients in a circular pattern and gradually incorporate the flour from the inside of the well. Every time I have tried this my well collapses and I have to quick-mix and start kneeding, which is probably why my dough doesn’t need much work in the pasta machine. The basic idea is for the dough to be elastic, a little sticky (not dry or stiff), and it should NOT start to fall apart when you run it through the machine. Once the flour is incorporated, kneed the dough for 5 minutes, then let rest for 30 minutes. Follow the directions on your machine to thin and cut the dough, but keep in mind the “feel” and don’t overwork the dough!
Step 3: Finish the pasta
Shred the meat in the sauce, add 1/4 lb olives, and simmer for 30 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm. Cook the pasta for about 1 minute (fresh pasta cooks very quickly and is SO tender!). Divide pasta and ragu among 4 plates and top with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.