Moroccan Lamb Ragu

Peden + Munk

My trip to Marrakech was intense and overwhelming. The sights, smells, and sounds were sensory overload. Crimson reds, burnt oranges, and cerulean blues filled our days. We wandered the bustling market, ate from stalls at the Jemaa el-Fnaa, and got lost many, many times; it was an exploration and test of wills like none other. This recipe brings back memories of the flavors we experienced and the time spent in this mysterious place.

  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped 
  • 2 medium shallots, roughly chopped 
  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling 
  • 1 pound ground lamb 
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste 
  • 1/2 cup red wine 
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water 
  • One 28-ounce can diced San Marzano tomatoes 
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley 
  • 3/4 pound fusilli lunghi 
  • Greek yogurt, for serving 
  • Torn mint leaves, for serving 
  • Flaky salt, such as Maldon

Back Pocket Pasta Book CoverBack Pocket Pasta
by Colu Henry

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. 
2. While the water comes to a boil, in a food processor, combine the carrot, shallots, and garlic. Pulse together until minced. 
3. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook until they soften and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the lamb and cook until browned, breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon, about 6 minutes. Stir in the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Stir in the tomato paste. 
4. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and cook until almost all the liquid has cooked down, about 5 minutes more. 
5. Add the tomatoes and parsley, stir together, bring to a simmer, and let simmer while the pasta cooks (see Cook’s Note). 
6. Add 2 tablespoons of the kosher salt to the boiling water and return to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions. 
7. Add the pasta directly to the skillet and toss to coat with the sauce, adding 1/4 cup of pasta water or more (up to 1 cup), as needed to loosen up the sauce. 
8. Plate in bowls and top with a spoonful of yogurt, torn mint leaves, a drizzle of olive oil, and some flaky salt. 
COOK’S NOTE: If the sauce seems like it needs more liquid while simmering, feel free to add small cups of pasta water to the pan during cooking. You want the sauce to be thick but to still have some movement.
* * *
Reprinted from Back Pocket Pasta. Copyright © 2017 by Colu Henry. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Peden + Munk. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Serves 4
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