Staying in and making a beautiful meal together can be just as romantic as going out to dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day. So we asked our friend, award-winning chef, food writer, and cookbook author Lorna Yee to share a delicious dish for two. This tasty slow-cooked lamb ragu recipe comes from her cookbook, The Newlywed Kitchen, which is full of amazing recipes and sweet love stories. Happy Cooking!
slow-cooked lamb ragu
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1⁄4 pound pancetta or bacon, cut into 1⁄4-inch pieces
1 medium sweet yellow onion, finely diced
2 ribs celery, finely diced
2 small carrots, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
3⁄4 cup dry white wine
1 pound ground lamb
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Small pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram, or 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh chopped marjoram
1⁄2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1⁄3 cup grated pecorino or Parmesan
1⁄4 cup half-and-half or whole milk
1⁄2 pound pasta, cooked and drained
1. Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp, about 3 minutes. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings in the skillet, and transfer to a large, heavy-bottomed pot.
2. Add the onions to the pancetta drippings in the skillet, and cook until golden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add the wine, carefully scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the skillet, and let it reduce for 2 minutes. Transfer the vegetables and wine to the pot with the pancetta.
3. Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet, and brown the lamb over medium-high heat, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Transfer the lamb to the pot.
4. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary to the pot. Simmer the sauce, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 21⁄2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so. (If you see some orange-colored fat floating to the surface, scoop it up with a spoon and discard.)
5. Remove the bay leaf. Stir in the pecorino and half-and-half, and toss the ragù with the pasta.
image via the newlywed kitchen