You’ve heard it a thousand times, but that’s because it’s true-spring has finally sprung for good! (We hope.) Is there a better way to bring in the new season than spring lamb braised with seasonal bright green vegetables? The fresh combo complements spring’s blooms and blossoms.
Few vegetables play as hard-to-get as fresh fava beans. They appear for a short time in the spring and require tedious preparation. You need to remove the beans from their pod, and then peel the skin from of each one of them. Yes, you can buy them shelled, but they are not quite the same.
Local lamb is available from Double Brook Farm and Beechtree Farm. Both will participate in the up-and-coming Princeton Forrestal Village Farmers Market. Jim will cook a whole Spring Lamb Chef Dinner on May 23.
Whole Wheat Pappardelle with Spring Lamb, Artichokes and Fava Beans
1 lamb shoulder, boned and cut into cubes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
3 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups dry white wine
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
¼ cup fresh shelled fava beans, frozen peas or frozen uncooked lima beans
4 large artichokes cooked and quartered, chokes and “hairy” centers removed, or frozen artichokes hearts.
Freshly ground pepper and sea salt
¼ cup fresh chopped Italian parsley
1 pound whole wheat pappardelle or other pasta, cooked just before serving according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large heavy pan on the stove on high heat. Season the lamb well with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the pan and then the lamb, being careful not to splatter. Make sure you don’t crowd the pan. Brown the meat well on all sides. You may need to work in two or three batches.
Remove the meat to an ovenproof casserole. Add the garlic and onion to the pan in which you cooked the meat and cook, stirring frequently until opaque. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly for about two minutes. Add the wine and the rosemary, bring to a moderate boil and reduce by half. Pour the liquid over the lamb and add 2 cups water or stock. Cover the casserole and roast for 2 hours. Remove from the oven, carefully take off the lid (beware of the steam) and add the favas and artichokes. Check for seasoning and add the parsley. Serve tossed with the pasta and pass the pecorino!