Lamb Ragout on Whole Wheat Pasta
The seasoning on the sauce is more Middle Eastern than Italian. The sweetness of the roasted peppers, mint, cinnamon and allspice intensify the juiciness of the wine. You can serve the sauce over regular pasta, but the dish is best when made with whole-wheat pasta or buckwheat, if you can find it.
2 red bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes with juices
12 ounces whole wheat or buckwheat spaghetti
Roast the peppers over a gas flame or under a broiler until blackened on all sides. Transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 10 minutes. Peel, seed and derib the peppers. Transfer to a food processor and puree. Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir 2 minutes. Add the lamb and cook until no pink remains, breaking up the lamb into small pieces as it cooks. Drain any fat from the saucepan. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Cook until only a few tablespoons of liquid remain. Add the pepper puree, tomatoes with juices, cinnamon and allspice. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Partially cover the pan and simmer 30 minutes to blend the flavors, stirring frequently. Uncover the pot and simmer until very thick, stirring frequently (about 15 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep hot. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, but still firm to bite. Drain. Transfer the pasta to a large pasta bowl. Spoon the sauce over. Sprinkle with mint and serve. Serves 4. Enjoy with a glass of 2001 Old Vine Zinfandel.