Meaty, rich pasta sauces are one of my teenager's favourite things to eat. Make this on a weekend when you have lots of time to let it bubble on the stove, then let it cool and package it away in the freezer for later in the week. The trick to this recipe is patience—a long, slow bubble will give you amazing results in the end! Serve over penne or rotini pasta, sprinkled with salty feta.
1 lb lamb (fresh is best, but frozen and thawed will do)
1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded, cored, and chopped
6 mushrooms, chopped
1-2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped fine
1 can of Italian plum tomatoes (I like cortina brand, the juice is nice and thick)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup red wine
In a large pan with a little olive oil, saute the onions, celery and garlic over medium low heat until softened and translucent. Stir in the rosemary and continue to saute a few minutes longer. Push the onions and garlic to the side of the pan, then crumble in the lamb, breaking apart with a spoon and turning the heat up to medium.
Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the chunks of meat until cooked through and no longer pink. Add the mushrooms, red pepper, mint, fresh cracked pepper and salt to taste. Continue to stir and cook until the vegetables soften and the pan becomes somewhat dry (juices from the meat will be absorbed by the vegetables). Stir in the wine and tomatoes, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon. Using the can from the tomatoes, fill it about 1/3 full with water, and pour it into the pan. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, and brown sugar. This will look very watery, but the liquid will evaporate and you will be left with a delicious, meaty sauce. Be patient!
Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and let simmer for about an hour and a half, until it's thickened, stirring now and then.
Serve with pasta and feta cheese.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson