Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Jim's Roman Holiday Pasta

Try a new way to look at a holiday meal. You’ll get two for the price of one: the festivity of a roast with the familial comfort of pasta.

I love to braise a succulent leg of lamb with aromatic vegetables and serve it over bucatini, those thick spaghetti with a hole running through the center (also called perciatelli). Bucatini are perfect for trapping the delicious braising liquids. Topped with pecorino romano, they make the quintessential Roman-style holiday feast.

½ cup olive oil
2 lbs. boneless lamb leg or shoulder, cubed into bite-size pieces
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 lb. bucatini pasta
¼ cup fresh grated pecorino cheese
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Season lamb with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the lamb and let it brown all over. Add the onion and carrot and continue cooking until the vegetables begin to sweat. Add the tomato paste and stir until dissolved. Add two quarts of water and bring to a boil (if you are not using a Dutch oven, transfer the contents into a large oven proof casserole). Cover and put into a 350° oven for 1-1½ hours or until the meat is tender and sauce is slightly thickened.

Remove from the oven and season with parsley, salt and pepper. Serve over freshly cooked bucatini pasta and top with grated pecorino cheese.

Serves 4-6 as an entrée.

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