Sunday, November 2, 2008

Giada's Lamb Ragù With Mint made for "Souper Sundays"

The best thing about starting your own weekly event or initiative is that you get to make all the rules. For example, if I don't want to make soup and instead make the Ragù recipe in Giada's new book I can. After all I said soup, stew or chili, and ragú (Italian) or ragoût (French) is defined as a meat-based sauce or stew so to me it counts. This is the third recipe I have tried from Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites by Giada De Laurentiis and so far she hasn't let me down. This is a great, soul-filling, tasty recipe that makes your kitchen smell like a little bit of heaven.

Lamb Ragù with Mint
Giada's Kitchen, Giada De Laurentiis
4-6 servings

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 garlic glove, minced
1 1/2 lbs ground lamb
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red wine
2 cups Marinara Sauce (recipe follows, or jarred)
1/2 cup torn fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup ricotta cheese

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the ground lamb, salt and pepper. Cook stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the lamb has browned and the juices have evaporated. Add the wine, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the wine has reduced by half.

Add the marinara sauce and simmer over low heat until the flavors have blended, about 10 minutes.
Add the mint and ricotta and stir until mixed. Serve in shallow bowls.

Marinara Sauce (makes about 2 quarts)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots and salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft. about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the salt with more salt and pepper to taste.

Notes/Results: Although I love lamb, I realize it is not everyone's favorite meat so this recipe could easily be made with ground beef, turkey or even veggie crumbles. The lamb adds a really nice complexity to the Ragù. The ricotta and mint take it up a notch too. Since the marinara sauce makes about 2 quarts, there is plenty left over for another use. Giada says to add two cups of the sauce to the lamb but I liked the consistency a bit better adding three cups. You can serve it plain in small bowls, over rice or on top of pasta (Giada recommends increasing the sauce to 4 cups to serve over pasta). The recipe takes a bit of time but it is no longer than making a pot of soup and it is relaxing to chop, stir and simmer it all together. I will make this again, with lamb or maybe with another meat.

And look who stopped by with a beautiful, hearty Autumn Barley Soup--it's my good friend Natashya from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. Made with homemade turkey stock and lots of love and help from her husband Charles (Poor Natashya burned her hand yesterday, ouch! I'm honored she still managed to join me for some soup!). This soup looks delicious! Go check out her post here for more about her soup and more pictures including ones of her adorable puppies in their Halloween costumes.
If you want to join us for a bowl of hearty goodness and have a soup (or soup-like creation) that you want to share on Souper Sundays, send me a comment and a link to your post and I'll feature it here. Drop in anytime, I'll be posting Souper Sundays for the next couple of months at least. Happy Sunday Everyone!


  1. Oh that looks great - you got some really good colour on your photo too. It looks very appetizing in the little blue and white bowl.
    I would definitely have a little pasta with mine. Noodle girl that I am.
    I made the barley soup for my baby girl but I am thinking maybe chili for next week.

  2. Hi Deb and Max,

    I couldn't find your email address, so dropping you a message here instead.
    I have received parcel from you, thanks alot. I love all items in the parcel.

  3. both sound really good...maybe even as a lasgna filling too...I think I'll have to sub the meat though as lamb isn't too readily available here...will let you know if I try it :)

  4. This looks great! I bet that it's wonderful with the lamb (but good to know that it would probably work great with more readily available ground beef or turkey!) The mint sounds like an interesting touch!

  5. Natashya--The pasta does make it great!

    Lydia--Max and I are so glad you got it and liked the items! ;-)

    Kat--it would be great as a lasagna filling--great idea!

    Cathy--the mint and ricotta both add a lot.


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