Lamb Ragu

This is pretty much my standard ragu recipe whatever the meat I use. It is often prompted by the dregs of a bottle of red wine; a funny stimulus to start a recipe but there it is. This version, with spinach stirred in at the end, was piled over tagliatelle tossed with butter and a mass of finely grated Parmesan. Delicious.

Serves 4

Prep: 25 min

Cook: 60 min approx

1 onion

1 garlic clove

1 sprig rosemary

2 tbsp olive oil

1 bay leaf

15 wrinkly cherry tomatoes

1 carrot

500g lamb mince

½ tbsp flour

150ml milk

150ml red wine

250ml chicken stock (cube is fine)

handful of young spinach

25g flat leaf parsley

Halve, peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Strip the rosemary spikes from the stalk and chop to dust. I always start ragu cooking in a spacious frying/sauté pan and then when all the ingredients are in the pan, transfer to a regular saucepan. So, heat the oil in a spacious frying/sauté pan over a medium heat, stir in the onion and garlic with the chopped rosemary, bay and a generous pinch of salt. Cook briskly, stirring often, as the onion begins to look glossy, reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until slippery soft, the garlic and rosemary aromatic. Quarter the tomatoes. Scrape and cut the carrots into small dice. Add the mince to the softened onion, stirring as it browns then dust with flour, stirring until disappeared. Add the milk, stirring as that bubbles into the meat then add the wine, stirring as that too bubbles away. Stir in tomatoes, chicken stock and carrot. Bring up to the boil then tip into a medium sized, lidded pan. Simmer, stirring for a few minutes then turn the heat very low and leave to simmer, giving the occasional stir, for at least 45 minutes until very thick, all the ingredients merged into a thick, luscious, juicy rather than wet sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. Fish out the bay leaf. Serve now or reheat later, stirring in the spinach to wilt just before serving. I usually stir finely chopped parsley leaves into the ragu just before dishing up, adding butter and more parsley to the pasta.