Baked Pasta with Lamb

This recipe comes from The Barefoot Contessa new cookbook Modern Comfort Food. It is delicious and a worthwhile departure from baked pasta with beef. Lamb gives it a rich layer of flavor that is just perfection on a plate. The book is worthwhile and has some great recipes in it if you’re still buying cookbooks. Perfect Sunday night dinner or any night dinner. Enjoy!

BTW this is what I did if you want to see her recipe in full you can look at it on The Food Network . I made a few changes to suit us.

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 large yellow onion — chopped

2 cups diced carrots ( 3 large)

1 pound ground lamb

3 cloves minced garlic

1 Tbsp. chopped fennel seeds , rough chopped

2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 1/2 cups dry red wine, Chianti or Malbec

1 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 lb. Whole Mozzarella ( I used Fresh ) but don’t worry if it’s not and 1/2 lb. Grated Mozzarella

Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper ( or coarse black pepper)

1 pound box of pasta such as Rigatoni, Ziti, Penne etc

2 Extra large eggs

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 lb. Mozzarella , divided

1/2 cup Italian Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven ( Le Creuset) over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute till softened for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally . Add the lamb, garlic and fennel seeds and cook for another 10 minutes, breaking up the lamb with a wooden spoon until no longer pink. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes, 2 cups of the wine, the oregano, red pepper flakes, 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer partly covered for about an hour, stirring occasionally. When it is finished cooking after the hour , remove from heat and add the final 1/2 cup of red wine.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees . Prepare pasta according to box directions until barely al dente. Drain and allow to cool for a few minutes before adding to the cheese.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream. Add the cooled down pasta and mix well. Add the 1/2 lb. grated mozzarella into the mixture. Add the cooled down lamb mixture, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper and toss well. This is why you need a large bowl.

Transfer whole mixture to a 10 x 14 baking dish and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Slice the whole mozzarella and arrange it on the top ( see pics) Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the sauce is hot and bubbling and some of the pasta is crusty on top. Times may vary

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