venerdì 19 luglio 2013

Anniversary Dinner: Lamb in the style of the "Monsù"

In September, Jeanette and I will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. But here we are now, on vacation in Utah. So tonight we had our early Anniversary Dinner.

I wanted to make a meat dish reminiscent of the great dishes of the "Monsù" (the chefs during the French occupation of Southern Italy, 1816-1861. "Monsù" is a corruption of the word "Monsieur"). With many of these dishes, the sauce makes a wonderful accompaniment to pasta. Therefore, you can make the first course and the second course at the same time.


a pasta that you like (we used farfalle)
extra-virgin olive oil
4 lb lamb shanks (I must mention that the word ciampa is the word in the Avellinese dialect for zampa, which is precisely this part of the animal.  Probably I had an ancestor 1000 years ago who walked with a funny limp. In fact there is a verb in modern Italian, inciampare, which means to stumble.)

¼ lb. pancetta, in half-inch-thick slices
2 large onions, quartered
5 garlic cloves, whole
2 stalks celery, halved
2 carrots, quartered
3 sun-dried tomatoes
375 mL of a red wine that you like to drink
250 mL homemade vegetable stock (or water)
800 g peeled tomatoes, whole
1 hard rind of parmigiano
crushed red pepper
a few mint leaves, fresh
a few basil leaves, fresh
pecorino, freshly grated


In a large pan (larger than the one that you see in the photo!), heat some oil.  Brown a little (not completely) the meats and the vegetables other than the tomatoes, with salt and pepper.  (Don't try to brown every inch of everything.  Just a little browning here and there.)  Add the wine.  When the wine begins to boil, add the stock.  When that starts to boil, add the tomatoes, crushed red pepper, and parmigiano rind. (Don't break the tomatoes; keep them whole.)  If the level of the liquid is not higher than the meat, add a little water.  Cover and cook on medium heat for 2 hours.

Every so often, check the pan and add a little water if necessary.  But note well: after the initial addition of wine and stock, do not add more wine or stock, only water.  Too much wine or broth will overpower the sauce.  

After the two hours, shut the flame.  Remove the lamb, pancetta, and parmigiano rind.  Discard the rind.  Keep the meats in a way that they will stay warm and moist (e.g., in a casserole dish, covered, with a little bit of liquid from the pan, in the oven on the lowest heat).

The rest of the contents of the pan purée in the blender.  Pour into a bowl, and only then add the mint and basil. (Don't cook them.)

For the first course, serve the pasta with this stupendous sauce, with the pecorino at the table.  For the second course, serve slices of the lamb, with a little of the same sauce on top.  To drink, serve the same type of wine that you had put in the sauce.

Well!  A tastier sauce that this one perhaps you will never eat in your whole life!  Buona cena!

Fresh onions from a local farm here in Utah.

1 commento:

  1. Congrats! I can't imagine a tastier way to celebrate...