If you follow me on Instagram (@bigsuzie, slick plug lol) you know I love to cook. So after a few requests, I figured I'd share my weekend concoctions every Monday....today, Lamb Ragu with mint and pistachio served over Cavatappi (cork screw noodles). Here's the original recipe along with my adjustments (marked with a *). Enjoy!


photo cred: Me!


All my love to Chef Emma Hearst  for this!




    ½ lb pancetta, diced small
    1 yellow onion, diced small
    2 carrots, peeled and diced small
    2 stalks celery, diced small
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    >2 lbs ground lamb
    6 oz tomato paste
    1 cup dry white wine *Lamb also pairs really well with red wines, I used a Syrah in the recipe, and in my glass :-)
    1 cup whole milk *next go round I may omit the milk altogether just to switch up the color and texture a bit
    3 tbsp fennel seed
    2 tbsp ground cardamom
    1 orange, quartered
    coarse salt
    1 cup roughly chopped mint leaves
    1 ½ cups roughly chopped unsalted pistachios (about 3 cups in shell) *for my taste, the tablespoon of salt wasn't enough, so I used salted pistachios
    2 tbsp unsalted butter


    2 lbs thin hand-cut fresh pasta, like tagliarini or tagliatelle *this sauce is hearty enough for a fettucine noodle as well, I used cavatappi

Black-Pepper Ricotta

    1 ½ cups ricotta mixed with 1 tbsp ground black pepper 

In a large pot over moderate heat, render pancetta slightly with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. (Do not brown.) When pancetta is translucent, about 8 minutes, add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Lower heat and sweat until vegetables are translucent and soft, about 12 minutes. (Do not brown.)

Add lamb and cook, working it with a wooden spoon so all the meat touches the cooking surface, until it loses its pink color, about 12 minutes.

Add tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until it turns rust colored, 3 to 5 minutes. Add up to ½ cup water and stir to loosen tomato paste so it doesn't burn. Add wine and simmer 2 minutes, stirring and scraping the pot with the wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits of meat. Add milk, fennel seed, cardamom, orange, and 1 tbsp salt. Stir to combine.

Cover and barely simmer over extremely low heat until flavors are well blended, about 1 ½ hours. (Use the lowest possible heat source to avoid scorching and stir frequently to avoid sticking.) Skim off fat and discard, remove orange, and season with salt to taste.

Stir in mint and pistachios and add ½ cup to 1 cup water to thin ragu slightly. Cook pasta according to package directions, but when noodles are about 1 minute from being finished (still a little sticky to the touch), transfer pasta to sauce to finish cooking. Add butter and reduce until sauce clings to pasta. Use tongs to toss noodles in sauce until coated. Salt to taste.

Transfer to serving bowls and top with dollops of black-pepper ricotta.