“Guitar pasta” in lamb and capsicum ragù
- 600 gm boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and sinew, cut into 2.5cm dice
- 125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- 250 ml dry white wine
- 4 plum tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1½ tbsp tomato paste
- 2 each red and yellow capsicum, cut into long thin strips (or 1 small red chilli), finely chopped
- 220 gm finely grated Pecorino Romano, to serve
- 600 gm “00” flour, plus extra for dusting
- 6 eggs
- 1Combine lamb with ½ tsp of sea salt and ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper in a non-reactive bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or preferably overnight. Heat oil in a casserole over high heat, add garlic and bay leaves, cook until garlic colours (1 minute). Add lamb, stirring occasionally until brown (3-5 minutes each side). Deglaze pan with wine, cook until almost evaporated (5-10 minutes), add tomato, tomato paste and capsicum (or chilli), cover with lid, reduce heat to low and stir occasionally, adding a little extra water if liquid dries out, until lamb is tender (2 hours). Discard bay leaves, set aside and keep warm.
- 2Meanwhile, for maccheroni alla chitarra, place flour on a board or in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Break eggs into well, beat with a fork until smooth. Mix eggs with flour using fingertips, incorporating a little at a time, then knead until a smooth dough forms (3-5 minutes). Cover with plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Cut dough into four pieces. Working with one piece at a time, and keeping the others covered, roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface into a 3mm-thick rectangle. Cut into rectangles to fit the stringed part of the chitarra. Lay one piece over strings, press down with a rolling pin to shred into strips. Toss strips with flour, spread in a single layer on a floured tray, keep covered. Repeat with remaining dough.
- 3Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (2-3 minutes). Drain, reserving 125ml of cooking water. Toss pasta and water through ragù and serve immediately with Pecorino Romano.
Note "Chitarra refers to a special rectangular wooden board with wire strings stretched across it lengthwise. A sheet of pasta dough is put on this board, pressed by a rolling pin, and shredded into thin strips. Alternatively, you can use the spaghetti cutter of a pasta machine. Zio Tonnino, my uncle, was always in charge of slaughtering the lamb. Zia Giosina and my mother would prepare the dish and then invite me, as an eight-year-old boy, to roll out the pasta and cut it with the traditional chitarra. It was a full day's work for all of us but the end result was definitely well worth the effort." You'll need to start this recipe a day ahead. You can special order a chitarra from Sydney's Complete Kitchenware.
Drink Suggestion: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a full-bodied, ruby wine with robust tannins. Drink suggestion by Glen Davis