We are trying to sell our home in Michigan while trying to get started on building our new house in Florida. This entails a lot of cleaning in preparation for realtor showings, along with flights back and forth to Florida with our two pups. Once my kitchen is spotless, I often hesitate to start new recipes as I am not a tidy cook and hate to mess up my kitchen, especially my stove, if our realtor calls to book another showing. However, there are times when I just say I am going to spend an entire day in the kitchen testing new recipes, and if our realtor calls, I’ll worry about that then. This pasta dish was created on one of those kitchen days. I spent a fun day in the kitchen baking bread, making lamb ragu for this pasta dish, baking muffins, and preparing two salads along with a strawberry cake.
I am a sucker for any baked pasta dish. I love the ability to get all of the preparations ahead of time and then clean my kitchen, just having to pop the pasta dish into the oven just in time for dinner. This meaty ragu is prepared by slow braising lamb shanks until the meat just falls off the bone. The ragu is full of flavor and is tossed with barely cooked pasta and topped with a combination of Italian cheeses before the dish is popped into the oven. Once baked, the dish is hot, bubbly, and topped with melted, golden brown cheese.
You can prepare this dish up to a day ahead or even freeze the dish for up to three months if you prefer. If freezing, thaw completely before baking. I decided to cook my sauce in a cast iron Dutch oven on top of the stove, but you could also slow cook it in the oven or even in a slow cooker if you prefer.
Deborah Mele 2021
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 4 Meaty Lamb Shanks
- 1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
- 1 Carrot, Finely Chopped
- 1 Celery Stalk, Finely Chopped
- 4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1/2 Cup Robust Red Wine
- 2 Cups Beef Stock
- 2 (400 Grams) Finely Chopped Canned Tomatoes
- 1/3 Cup Tomato Paste
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Pinch or Red Chili Flakes
- 2 Teaspoons Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary
- 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley Leaves
- 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil
- 1 Pound Dried Short Pasta Such As Penne or Rigatoni
- 1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Cups Grated Mozzarella
- In a large heavy pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and brown the shanks well on all sides.
- Remove the shanks to a plate, then add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pan.
- Cook the vegetables until translucent and lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the wine, stock, tomatoes, and tomato paste to the pan, then bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer, then add seasonings and herbs, and stir to mix.
- Return the shanks to the pan, cover, then simmer until the meat falls off the bone, about 3 hours.
- Discard lamb bones and shred meat with two forks.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted boiling water to a boil.
- Cook the pasta for half the time stated on the package then drain.
- Return pasta to the pot then add the sauce.
- Mix well then pour pasta into an ovenproof casserole dish.
- Top with cheese then bake for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly and beginning to brown on top.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 537Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 842mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 36g