Monday, July 27, 2009

Ziti with Creamy Lamb Ragu...and a Winner!!

Carb loading is traditionally a favorite activity of many a marathoner. However, hubby and I are really just normal folks who happen to love carbs in any shape or form. This evening, we decided to celebrate a great weekend with heaps of good pasta and a loaf of our favorite bread from the Hillcrest farmer's market. If you're ever in the area, check out the very appropriately named "Best Bread" booth. Ooh, I could live there it's so good.

Lamb Ragu
Another one of Giada's winning recipes, this dish comes together fairly quickly thus minimizing the insane heat creation in our home. Ziti pairs quite nicely with a lamb ragu flavored with sauteed shallots, fresh mint, & a touch of ricotta for creaminess. We paired these beloved carbs with a nice bottle of chardonnay to round out a perfect summer meal. Lamb was also a nice change from the usual chicken and/or shrimp I've been cooking.

Ziti with Lamb RaguBefore I leave you with the recipe I also wanted to give a huge shout out to Melissa from Baking for the Boys for being the WINNER of my reader recipe contest. This is a very late congratulations but thank you so much for your Angels on Horseback recipe! Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the winning recipe (I dont know how you all entertain and manage to take photos), but I can provide you with some testimonials if you want proof of how delicious these were! As I was looking for easy entertaining recipes, shrimp wrapped in bacon and drizzled with homemade bbq sauce definitely fit the bill.

To thank Melissa for her great recipe, I'm sending her a copy of Alice Medrich's Chocolate Holidays: unforgettable desserts for every season. In my opinion, this book is a chocoholic's dream. Good thing Melissa likes chocolate :) Enjoy!

Both delicious recipes follow:

Ziti with Lamb Ragu
Adapted from Giada
1 pound rigatoni pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound ground turkey (*you can use all ground lamb)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red wine
4 1/2 cups marinara sauce, store-bought or home made
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
3/4 cup ricotta cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.

In a large skillet warm olive oil over high heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the ground lamb, ground turkey, salt, and pepper. Cook until the lamb has browned and most of the juices have evaporated. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has reduced by half. Add the marinara sauce and simmer over low heat about 10 minutes. Add the mint and ricotta and stir until mixed. Add the pasta and stir to coat. Serve immediately with a loaf of warm bread.

Angels on Horseback
Courtesy of Melissa

36 large shrimp
salt and pepper
1/4 pound bacon

1. Season shrimp with salt and pepper
2. Wrap in bacon
3. Broil until done, about 10 minutes
4. Brush w/ BBQ sauce (recipe follows)
*I pre-cooked the bacon a bit so that the shrimp didn't overcook and also sprinkled the bacon/shrimp with a touch of brown sugar.

La Posada BBQ Sauce
yield: 1 1/2 pints
5 oz. Worcestershire sauce
5 oz. soy sauce
1/2 lemon, juiced
5 oz. tomato puree
1 1/2 T. dark brown sugar
1 c. heavy whipping cream

1. In a small saucepan combine Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, tomato puree and dark brown sugar. Stir on medium heat until sugar has dissolved.

2. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. In a large sauce pan, add cream and bring to a boil. Simmer until the cream sticks to the back of spoon. Stir in BBQ sauce base to taste. Bring mixture back to boil and simmer again until it coats the back of a spoon


Jersey Girl Cooks said...

Oooh, some great recipes! I love to carbo load also.

kat said...

Oh my does that dish look fabulous!

The Blonde Duck said...

My husband loves carbs!

Elle said...

Oh my gosh, that looks mouth wateringly good! I love pasta in all shapes or forms, and prepared every way you can think of. This one is definitely a recipe to bookmark!

Katie said...

SO hungry now!!

Sasha said...

Oh, looks yumm!
You know, some would say eating pasta with bread is just too much. But I'm a carb-lover, too, so the more, the better : )

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

What a great recipe, that looks yum.

Pam said...

Congrats to the winner - her recipe sounds great...and so does your ragu! YUM!

grace said...

what a delectably creamy sauce, sharon! and the ziti appears to be quite perfectly tender. this dish just oozes comfort!

Esi said...

This post is making me hungrier than I already am (if that is even possible)

Justin said...

i'm addicted to carbs too... sigh. the lamb is an interesting twist.

MaryBeth said...

Congrats to the winner and the pasta is to die for...

Maria said...

I am always up for pasta!

La Bella Cooks said...

This sounds like an amazing pasta! I need to try this one.

Kristen said...

I love most of Giada's recipes. Haven't tried this one yet!

Dewi said...

Delicious, love lamb!

Chibog in Chief said...

OMG im drooling just looking at these photos!

petite nyonya said...

i could really have a plate of that pasta right now. looks yummy!

Emily said...

I've always wanted to make a real ragu. This looks crazy-good!

alexandra said...

Giada is amazing. Every time I am home and happen to turn on her show, I find myself drooling, as I am here. This recipe looks fabulous! Homey and delicious yet elegant, too.

Sophie said...

This is comfort food! I've only tried lamb I'll have to try ground lamb, I bet this wouldn't taste as good with ground turkey (usually my ground meat of choice :D).

Maris said...

MM sounds so good! Now I totally want pasta for dinner. Might have to make it happen :)

Unknown said...

Oh my that pasta looks so good. I can't keep my eyes off of it :). Thanks for sharing!

RecipeGirl said...

Lamb ragu? Ah, we absolutely love lamb. I don't think I've ever used it in a pasta before- great idea.

Would you believe me if I said that I've never been to the Hillcrest Farmer's Mkt before??

~~louise~~ said...

I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy lamb. This recipe sure does sounds like a winner, and easy too!!!

Congrats to Melissa! Her bbq sauce recipe makes those Angels on Horseback all the more tempting.

Sharon, Thanks for sharing...

pigpigscorner said...

Lots of wonderful recipes! I am a huge carb lover too!

Anonymous said...

i never thought of pairing lamb in a pasta sauce - i can't wait to try this!

diva said...

your ragu photo is a winner too. my tastebuds just went a little crazy and my heart melted a little

Talita said...

Delicious! THis dish looks so tasteful!

ellen said...

Ooh, thanks for this recipe! I have some ground lamb in the freezer thanks to our CSA, and I've been pondering how to use it :o)