I know ya’ll are going to think this is nuts. And maybe it is. But our dog, Lucy, cooks. She’s a willing taster of any and everything that happens to get within a 50 mile radius of her mouth. She likes to stand on her hind legs and watch me cook. She’s done this ever since she was a puppy. She’ll toddle into the kitchen and stand up with her front paws on the side of the counter. Never on the top. When I got home tonight, Lucy and I discussed what we were going to cook and she reminded me of the ground lamb that she and Groom were thawing in the sink. Every time I opened the refrigerator she was there to offer her suggestions. It was her idea to use fennel instead of celery and of course, the sun dried tomato paste instead of regular tomato paste. She’s good about that. Uses her eyes a lot ..she’s very expressive.
Occasionally she’ll have to run out of the kitchen to tighten up one of the cats that might have done something she doesn’t approve of, but mostly she’s right there. Ready to help. I couldn’t ask for a better sous chef.
Lucy’s Lamb Ragu
1 pound ground lamb
1 ounce pancetta, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 small onion, diced
4 fat cloves garlic, chopped
1 small fennel bulb, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
Lots of coarsely ground black pepper and salt (not so much) to taste
2 cups canned San Marzano Italian tomatoes, whole, with their juice
½ cup dry white wine (I used vermouth)
2 good squeezes sun dried tomato paste
Small handful of chopped Italian parsley
½ cup pecorino Romano
Heat olive oil in pan over moderate heat, when hot add the carrot, fennel and onion. Season with salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste.
When veggies are golden add the pancetta. When that is done, add the garlic and the rosemary and cook for about five minutes. Add ground lamb and cook until the meat is done. Add white wine and cook until the wine totally evaporates. Add the sun dried tomato paste and mix well then add the tomatoes and their juice. Lower heat and let simmer while you cook the pasta.
When ready to serve, stir in the cheese and the Italian parsley.
Serves 3. Two humans and a dog. Lucy gives it a four out of five paws.