Australian Lamb Ragù Rigatoni
recipe by shereen pavlides
If lamb shanks are not available, you can substitute for lamb shoulder blade chops (about 3). This recipe also works beautifully in a pressure cooker or slow cooker, after the lamb is seared.
2 bone-in Aussie lamb shanks (about 1 1/2 pounds total) trueaussiebeefandlamb.com
kosher salt / fresh finely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion - diced (1 cup)
4 garlic cloves - minced
1/3 cup sherry or chardonnay wine
1 (28 ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes - crushed with your hands
1 small bundle fresh thyme - tied together with butcher’s twine
3/4 pound rigatoni
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese - plus extra for serving
thinly sliced fresh basil - to garnish
Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Season lamb shanks with 1 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Heat oil in a 4-quart dutch oven or ovenproof sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add lamb shanks and sear until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate. Set aside. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Sauté until tender, 2 - 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Deglaze with sherry or chardonnay and reduce by half, about 1 minute. Add San Marzano tomatoes, then fill the can 1/3 of the way with cold water, rinsing the excess tomato juices. Pour the tomato water into the pot, cleaning the can.
Season the sauce with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add thyme bundle and stir well until combined. Bring sauce to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, return the lamb shanks, nestling them under the sauce. Cover with a tight-fitted lid. Place into the oven and roast until the lamb is tender, falling off the bones, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile: In the last 30 minutes of the lamb’s roasting time, bring salted water to a rapid boil in a 6-quart pot over high heat. Add rigatoni and cook until tender, 12 minutes. Drain [NOTE: RESERVE PASTA COOKING LIQUID, YOU WILL NEED IT]. Set aside.
Remove the pot from the oven. Remove lamb onto a plate, discard thyme from the sauce. Using a hand held blender, tilt pot to one side and puree sauce in the pot until smooth, about 15 seconds.
Shred the lamb off the bones, discarding bones and fat. Return lamb meat into the pot with the sauce. Re-taste and adjust for seasoning.
Stir in drained rigatoni. Simmer the rigatoni to further cook, absorbing the sauce, about 2 minutes. Thin the sauce as needed, using the reserved pasta cooking liquid.
Stir in 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese until combined.
Transfer to a large pasta serving bowl. Garnish with basil and serve hot with extra grated Pecorino Romano cheese on the side. Serve family style.
prep: 10 minutes
cook / roast: 2 hours 10 minutes
serves: 4 - 6