Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lamb Pappardelle with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

Copyright 2008 by Cooking With The Single Guy

6-8 oz. lamb leg steaks
1 bunch asparagus (thicker the better)*
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 to 5 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. dried pappardelle pasta
½ T fresh rosemary leaves, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup red wine
¼ cup veal or beef broth
1 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil (normal and good quality for drizzling)

Cook your pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water per the instructions on the package. When done, drain and set aside.

Prep your asparagus by breaking off the woody part of the stem at the end. Then with a peeler, strip a thin slice of the asparagus to create a ribbon. Leave the flower tip intact and keep everything in a bowl of cold water.

Season your lamb steaks with salt and pepper and drizzle with every day extra virgin olive oil. In a large skillet or saucepan, warm about another tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high to high heat and then add your lamb. Cook for about three to five minutes on each side (depending on how done you like your lamb). Then set aside to rest.

In the same skillet or saucepan, add some more olive oil and over medium high heat cook the garlic for just a few seconds to infuse the olive oil. Then add your asparagus tips (just the tips and not the ribbons you made) and mushrooms. Saute for about two minutes, then add red wine to deglaze your pan. Reduce your heat to medium to simmer and then add the broth, cherry tomatoes and rosemary. Let cook for about 2 to 3 minutes covered.

Get your lamb steaks and cut them into strips. Then add them along with your asparagus ribbons to the pan and mix all your ingredients together. Then add your pasta and toss everything together, letting the pasta soak some of the broth. Take the pan off the heat and add the cheese, mixing everything well.

Plate your pasta and garnish with some flat leaf parsley and grated Parmesan Reggiano and drizzle with good-quality extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately, with garlic bread.

Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Pair with a glass of Pinot Noir (the ones from Willamette Valley in Oregon is especially nice now).

* You may not need to use all the asparagus, depending on how big your bunch is. Most bunches sold at stores are about 1 pound.

TIP: I like making the asparagus ribbons to match the pappardelle. To make them, lay the asparagus flat and run a peeler along the body to create flat ribbons. Run the peeler just on the stalk part and keep the tip whole. (But I leave the tip in the beginning because it gives me something to hold on to while peeling away, then I snap off the tip afterwards.) If you have a hand peeler like mines that has a big handle (you know, those ergonomically proper ones), it might be hard to get close to the flat asparagus. So what I do is lay the asparagus on the edge of the cutting board and then place the board on the edge of the sink. The space from the sink gives me room for the peeler handle and my hands as I run it along the cutting board and asparagus.

PAPA WHERE’S THE PAPPARDELLE? I find it’s a challenge finding pappardelle at typical groceries stores. They don’t always stock this wide flat noodle. I found mines at Trader Joe’s, or you can look for them at specialty food stores or Italian delis. If you can’t find them, then you can substitute with the pasta marked “flat wide noodles” or something similar.

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