Braised Lamb in Marsala and Cinnamon

10/06/2013

This makes a lovely ragu for pasta or risotto.  

Extra virgin olive oil
6 lamb chops
Sea salt & black pepper
3 leeks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 cup Marsala
1 jar passata or 1 can tomatoes, chopped in juice
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Pasta or rice
1 cup grated Pecorino cheese

mint leaves, chopped, & some for garnish

In a large pot fitted with a lid, heat 1/3 cup olive oil over medium flame.

Dry the lamb chunks well and add them to the pot.

Season with salt and black pepper and brown well. Remove from the pan.

Add the leeks and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes.

Add the garlic and sauté until it gives off an aroma, about a minute longer.

Add the Marsala and let it reduce by half.

Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and tomatoes.

Bring to a boil. Replace the meat.
Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer until tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Check to see if water is required as it will concentrate the tomato and dry out.
Taste for seasoning and add the mint and parsley after about an hour cooking.

Cook the pasta al dente, drain, and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Add a drizzle of fresh olive oil and a handful of grated cheese.
Remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl.

Spoon on a little of the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over the pasta and toss.

Traditionally, the pasta is served first, topped with the remaining cheese.
The meat, garnished with mint sprigs, is usually a second course, with vegetables or salad.

For a lovely rich risotto simply cook the rice and when ready, take the meat off the bone,
remove the bay leaf and cinnamon sticks. Add the rice to the meat and sauce. Mix well.
Top with grated cheese and freshly chopped mint and parsley.

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