Yesterday was my first time cooking with lamb. I decided to start small and go with ground lamb. I figured I could do a number of things with easy and versatile meat product. I thought about making meatloaf, meatballs, or a pasta sauce. Pasta always wins out for me. Always.
I started off making this more Italian, but the spices I continued to reach for made it more Middle Eastern. Maybe some Indian influence? Not really sure, but it sure did turn out amazing! By the looks of the ingredients this is obviously not a traditional bolognese sauce. But aside from the spices, it’s almost the same. I added in my own spices (as mentioned previously), and I subbed in the half-and-half for the whole milk you usually add.
- 1 small onion, minced
- olive oil and butter (approx 1 tbsp each)
- 1/2 lb ground lamb
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground garlic
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp of paprika (or less, but I like the smokiness that it brings to meat)
- 1-2 tsp of chili powder (depending on your tastes)
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tbsp various dried herbs, such as oregano, thyme, sage, or rosemary
- 1 can tomato sauce (14 oz ones)
- 1 tbsp of raw sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 tbsp of molasses
- 1/4-1/3 cup of half-and-half (depending on your sauce preference, more is less thick and creamy, I used 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
Start off my heating a heavy bottomed pot (about 3 quarts). I recommend a cast iron, those typically work the best with sauces. Take out your meat from the fridge and allow to rest. This takes the chill out of the meat and ensures even cooking (I read that just this morning, and lucky that I had done it completely unaware of its benefits).
Add the oil and butter when the pot is nice and hot.
Add in the onions and allow to brown. Do not add in the salt at this stage. After five minutes or so (the onions should be nice and golden), add in the lamb with the spices. Coat everything in the butter-oil mixture. Make sure the meat gets a chance to brown; stir it infrequently, and break apart into smaller chunks. After about 10 minutes add the herbs and tomato sauce. Stir in the sugar and allow to melt in.
Add the molasses and the half and half.
Simmer on medium-low for twenty minutes. Stir about every 8 minutes or so, just to ensure the meat is getting evenly coated in the tomato sauce. Taste at this point and determine if you need more salt, more pepper, or maybe even more sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
Take off the heat when the sauce has thickened and is nice and fragrant. Stir in the parmesan cheese. Top with pasta of your choosing. I would recommend small shells, rotini, or any other twisted pasta to catch the sauce in.
When serving sprinkle more parmesan cheese.