Fresh tomatoes and mint.
In the dead of winter.
Well, why the hell not?
If you’re hungry and you happen to have all the ingredients to a divine dinner, are you going to punish yourself because it might not be the “correct” time to eat something. The Food Police need to lighten up a bit.
The wonderful Campari tomatoes on the vine work great for this. And fresh mint is not hard to come by.
Combine with a simple saute of ground lamb, onions, fat garlic cloves and spicy fresh ginger and you’ve got a quick meal that will knock your socks off.
And offer hopes of warm weather during an Arctic freeze.
Rigatoni with Lamb Sauce, Fresh Tomatoes and Mint
Adapted from Patricia Wells’ The Provence Cookbook
2 onions, peeled and diced
1 large spoonful garlic confit or 6 fat garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
A good inch of fresh ginger, peeled and cut in small pieces
A couple of good shakes crushed red pepper flakes
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 pound ground lamb
A good hand of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
A good pinch dried mint
1-1-2 cups dry white wine
6 Campari tomatoes, cut in quarters
A good handful fresh mint, chopped
Cook enough rigatoni for three people
Pecorino Romano cheese , grated, to pass
Place a large skillet over medium high heat and add a couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil. When the oil is shimmery, add onions, garlic and season with coarse salt. Stir, cover and cook over low heat until soft, about three minutes.
Throw the carrots, celery, ginger and hot pepper flakes in the food processor. Pulse a couple of times and put in pan with the onions and garlic mix. Cook until soft. Add the lamb and cook until it’s no longer pink. Add parsley, dried mint and white wine and bring to a boil. The reduce the heat and let it rock til the wine has evaporated. Patricia says that should take about five minutes.
Put the Campari tomatoes, fresh mint and a couple of swirls of extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl and season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
At this point, when the pasta is done, drain and add immediately to the skillet. Toss together and then cover and let it sit for a couple of minutes and then taste for seasoning.
Serve with the Campari tomato and mint salad on top and a good grating of the Pecorino Romano cheese.
Click here for a printable recipe!
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