Lamb, mint and ricotta pasta
I admit it, I have a bit of a problem. I could eat mince every day. Pair that with tomatoes and I'm a happy bunny! Of course, I can't eat bolognese every day, right? So I have had to be creative in the past. From simple stuffed tomatoes to crazy pasta combinations and minced beef fajitas. The options are endless, believe me.
However, there is one recipe that stands out because it really is original and creative. It is a recipe by Giada de Laurentiis and has stuck with me ever since I saw the words "Lamb Ragu With Mint." Seriously, how can this possibly go wrong??
Because I have some experience in British (boarding school) food, I know lamb and mint just goes together, it just does (even though some of you will not agree). But add tomatoes and ricotta and you will have magic on your plate! The trick, however, is to add enough salt because even though lamb is tasty, paired with ricotta it can be quite bland. And of course I always add some sugar, as I do with every dish that includes tomato sauce.
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
- an onion or a couple of shallots, finely chopped
- a couple of cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tins (400g) of chopped tomatoes
- about 500g of minced lamb (you can also use lamb burger which you break up while cooking them)
- a big heaped tablespoon of ricotta
- pasta (rigatoni is best for this dish)
- a big bunch of mint, finely chopped
- olive oil
- some grated cheese to serve (comté is nice, as is the regular pasta mix or just some parmesan)
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?
- This is not a difficult recipe. Add some oil to your pan and allow it to get hot before you add the onions and garlic. When the onions have gone soft you can add the minced lamb, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you cook it.
- I like vegetables so I have added some sliced mushrooms to the mixture. This is not part of the original recipe so there is no obligation for you to add the mushrooms. If you do add them, allow them to cook a little before adding the chopped tomato.
- Leave the tomato mixture to cook on a low heat and after 5 minutes, add the ricotta, a tablespoon of sugar, enough salt to taste and pepper. Stir it all in and leave for a couple of minutes before adding the chopped mint. This could also use a couple of minutes for the flavour to seep into the sauce so depending on how hungry you are, the longer you leave it to simmer the better it will taste ;)
- Serve this up with some hot, steamy rigatoni or other tube-shaped pasta you prefer, heap on the grated cheese and enjoy!
The finished product.
If you like it spicy, do not hesitate to add any condiment needed to do so such as tabasco. However, at the local Asian market, I found this chili oil that only packs the heat of the chili, not the flavour, which is perfect for dishes with a lot of flavour already, like this one.
Good with pretty much anything.