While I am quite fond of all Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks, Nigella Express is a busy cook’s best friend! So many recipes for a quick meal, recipes ranging for family and a quick dinner with friends. One of my favorites is Rapid Ragu – minced lamb, caramelized onions, diced tomatoes, all together and tasting as though it had simmered for hours. I ended up with extra folks for dinner and served this over egg noodles to stretch it a little farther.
- 2 tablespoons garlic oil
- 1 cup cubed pancetta
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1/4 cup caramelized onions *available at gourmet and specialty stores
- 1/3 cup Marsala
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1/3 cup green lentils
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup grated red Leicester or Cheddar, optional
NOTE: Sigh. No garlic oil, Trader Joe’s was out. I minced garlic, in the olive oil, and when it became fragrant I added the pancetta, which, was chopped up slices as opposed to the cubes. The larger pieces of pancetta give this a much hearty flavor than the dice I usually keep on hand for pancetta emergencies.
Heat the oil in a wide, medium-sized saucepan, and fry the pancetta until beginning to crisp.
Add the lamb breaking it up with a fork in the bacony pan as it browns.
Tip in the caramelized onions, Marsala, tomatoes, lentils and water and bring the pan to the boil.
NOTE: I received a jar of caramelized onions from friends in the UK that I was dying to open. Normally I have a batch in the freezer that I make in my crock pot in large amounts. So easy.
Simmer the ragu for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Sprinkle over the cheese before serving, if using.