To me, pasta with a good ragù is the perfect dish when it is cold outside. This lamb ragù combines the warm flavors of cumin and roasted tomatoes that make it just right for dinner on cold January evenings with a touch of freshness from mint and parsley that brighten it up a bit and remind the eater of spring.
The chili flakes add just a touch of heat. It comes together quickly to make a great weeknight dinner, but the combination of flavors feels special enough that you can serve it at a dinner party as well (for a dinner party, you might want to make a double batch).
Make sure you cook the pasta together with the sauce for a minute before serving. It lets the pasta absorb the flavors from the sauce and helps the dish come together.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp chili flakes
- 2 tsp salt
- 8 oz penne, (or other short pasta such as rigatoni or Campanella)
- ~2 tbsp pasta cooking water
- 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp mint, chopped
- Feta cheese for topping
- Preheat a large skillet or a dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil and onions. Cook the onions for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are starting to soften.
- Add diced red pepper. Cook with onions for another 5 minutes. Add garlic, continue cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Add ground lamb and salt. Cook until the lamb is well browned, breaking up the meat into small pieces as it cooks. This should take 5-6 min.
- Add crushed tomatoes, cumin, smoked paprika, and chili flakes. Cook over low heat for at least 5 minutes to help the flavors meld.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions. When the pasta is al dente, reserve a couple tablespoons of cooking water and drain. Be careful not to overcook the pasta since it will continue to cook a bit in the sauce.
- Add the cooking water and pasta to the ragù. Stir together and cook for a minute or so. Stir in herbs.
- Top with a bit of feta cheese for serving.