Penne with Lamb and Eggplant Ragu
“Penne con Agnello e Melanzane Ragu”
Both lamb and especially eggplant are popular in the region of Calabria, which forms the toe of the boot shape Italian peninsula. Soaking the eggplant while the stew is braising plumps up the vegetable and gives it a nice texture once fried.
Preparation Time:
20
min
Cooking Time:
120
min
Servings:
4
Ingredients
1/4 cup (50 mL)
olive oil (approx.), divided
1 lb (500 g)
boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cubed
1
each large onion and carrot, diced
3
cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp (10 mL)
dried oregano leaves
1 tsp (5 mL)
each dried fennel seed and thyme leaves
1 tsp (5 mL)
each salt and freshly ground pepper (approx.), divided
1 can (796 mL)
good quality whole tomatoes such as San Marsano
1 cup (250 mL)
each beef broth and dry red wine
1
medium eggplant (about 3/4 lb/350 g)
1/3 cup (75 mL)
chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 lb (454 g)
Giovanni Panzani Penne Rigate # 19
Freshly grated Parmagiano-Regianno cheese
Method
  1. Heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil in a Dutch oven or large pot set over medium-high heat. Brown the lamb cubes evenly (in batches as needed); transfer to a plate and reserve.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, oregano, fennel and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes or until softened. Return the lamb to the pot; add the tomatoes, beef broth and red wine. Simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours or until the lamb is very tender and the sauce is thickened.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes. Place in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover; set a plate on top to keep the eggplant submerged. Soak the eggplant for 1 hour; drain well and pat dry on paper towels. Season with the remaining salt and pepper.
  4. Heat half the remaining oil in a large, nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add half the eggplant and cook, turning as needed, until browned all over; remove to a paper-towel lined plate and reserve. Repeat with remaining oil and eggplant.
  5. Add the eggplant to the sauce; simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Stir in the parsley. Prepare the penne according to package directions. Toss the hot, drained penne with the sauce; serve with cheese to taste.
Tips
Reserve leftover ragu, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Ingredient Notes
Lamb: A popular meat in Southern Italy with large flocks ranging in mountainous areas. The abundant sheep also produce pecorino cheeses (which is the name given to all Italian cheeses made from sheep's milk) including the famous Pecorino Romano from Rome. The lamb used in the ragu recipe is lamb shoulder but any boneless cut of stewing lamb would work equally as well.
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Penne with Lamb and Eggplant Ragu

“Penne con Agnello e Melanzane Ragu”



Preparation time: 20
Cooking time: 120
Servings: 4


Ingredients

1/4 cup (50 mL)
olive oil (approx.), divided
1 lb (500 g)
boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cubed
1
each large onion and carrot, diced
3
cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp (10 mL)
dried oregano leaves
1 tsp (5 mL)
each dried fennel seed and thyme leaves
1 tsp (5 mL)
each salt and freshly ground pepper (approx.), divided
1 can (796 mL)
good quality whole tomatoes such as San Marsano
1 cup (250 mL)
each beef broth and dry red wine
1
medium eggplant (about 3/4 lb/350 g)
1/3 cup (75 mL)
chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 lb (454 g)
Giovanni Panzani Penne Rigate # 19
Freshly grated Parmagiano-Regianno cheese



Method

  1. Heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil in a Dutch oven or large pot set over medium-high heat. Brown the lamb cubes evenly (in batches as needed); transfer to a plate and reserve.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, oregano, fennel and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes or until softened. Return the lamb to the pot; add the tomatoes, beef broth and red wine. Simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours or until the lamb is very tender and the sauce is thickened.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes. Place in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover; set a plate on top to keep the eggplant submerged. Soak the eggplant for 1 hour; drain well and pat dry on paper towels. Season with the remaining salt and pepper.
  4. Heat half the remaining oil in a large, nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add half the eggplant and cook, turning as needed, until browned all over; remove to a paper-towel lined plate and reserve. Repeat with remaining oil and eggplant.
  5. Add the eggplant to the sauce; simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Stir in the parsley. Prepare the penne according to package directions. Toss the hot, drained penne with the sauce; serve with cheese to taste.

Tips

Reserve leftover ragu, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Ingredient Notes:

Lamb: A popular meat in Southern Italy with large flocks ranging in mountainous areas. The abundant sheep also produce pecorino cheeses (which is the name given to all Italian cheeses made from sheep's milk) including the famous Pecorino Romano from Rome. The lamb used in the ragu recipe is lamb shoulder but any boneless cut of stewing lamb would work equally as well.