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Rapid Ragu

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.

Rapid Ragu

  • 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.

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7 Responses

  1. Sounds wonderful! How do you do caramelized onions in the crock pot? I have never done that, usually just make them on the stove top as I need them. Large amounts in the crock pot then frozen sounds like a great time saver.

    • I fill my 7 qt crock pot with thinly sliced onions, add a few glugs of olive oil, a pinch of salt and cook them for about 8 hours. When I first saw this online it said on low, but I did this on high. A lot depends on your crock pot. The last 45 minutes take the cover off. At the very end I add a little bit of balsamic vinegar for some depth.

      I have to find the exact proportions. I do it so often I just do everything by eye now.

  2. This looks good. I have the cookbook but haven’t made anything from it yet. I’ll be looking for some more quick recipes! Great looking photos!

  3. I love my copy of Nigella Express. She has so many quick and delicious meals in that book. This rapid ragu has been on my list for awhile. I love how you served it over egg noodles. It sounds delicious!

  4. I have had this one tagged for awhile–it looks so good and easy too. Nigella Express is a great cookbook.

  5. looks great!

    Michael

  6. This is one of our all time favorites. Sometimes I’m afraid I’ll make it too much and we’ll get sick of it!

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