• Jennifer Oppermann

Italian Lamb bolognaise

Updated: Apr 28

Casseroles are just the best dishes for gatherings and family dinners as they can be prepared ahead of time and you can leave it in the centre of the table and let people help themselves. I have fallen in love with Italian cuisine over the last couple of years following a fantastic foodie holiday on the Southern Italian coast, I have just returned from my holiday there and I always love trying to recreate the dishes I have eaten while I was there. This Ragu is rich and bursting with flavour and is a sure winner for serving to family and friends. I usually serve it with conchiglie pasta as I love the way the meat sauce clings to each large shell. A basket of crusty bread is always on the dining table when serving Italian for so you mop up all those delicious saucy juices. The dish would not be complete with out lashing of good parmesan cheese and a little glass of Chianti.



Ingredients

450g Lean lamb mince

1 medium brown onion chopped finely

3 garlic cloves crushed

4 stalks of celery chopped

1 can of cherry tomatoes

20g dried mushrooms ie porcini

1 tbsp of chopped fresh thyme or sage

1/2 tsp of grated nutmeg

1 tsp of toasted fennel seeds crushed

4 tbsp of red wine

1 tsp of sugar

1 heaped tbsp of tomato paste

1 lamb stockpot or cube

Rapeseed oil for frying

Garnish

Fresh basil leaves for and grated parmesan



Method

1. Fry mince on a dry pan and discard any excess oil, remove the lamb from heat and set aside in a deep or pot. Fry the onions in rapeseed on a pan for 3 minutes, add in chopped celery and crushed garlic, cook for a further 4 mins making sure not to burn the garlic.

2. Melt stock pot or stock cube in 50 mls of boiling water and add to the pot with the cooked lamb. Add in celery, onion and garlic. Deglaze the pan used for cooking the onions etc with red wine and pour into lamb pot. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar stir and cook on a low heat.

3. Rehydrate the dried mushrooms in 75mls of boiling water, after 10 minutes pours the liquid and mushrooms into lamb and mix.

4. Put a whole nutmeg and fennel seeds on a pan (low heat) on toast for 3 minutes. Crush fennel seeds and grate 1/3 of the nutmeg and add into lamb along with the chopped fresh thyme or sage stir and cook for a further 15 minutes on a low heat. Season to taste. Serve with Conchiglie pasta.

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