Chef's Recipes

Lamb shoulder ragù with gnocchetti

Could this be the hit dish from Pinbone's Italian pop-up, Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco? It certainly gets a vote from us.

By Mike Eggert & Jemma Whiteman
  • Serves 6
  • 1 hr preparation
  • 3 hrs cooking plus cooling, resting
Lamb shoulder ragu with gnocchetti

"This is our take on the classic sauce – it's rich and delicious," says Mike Eggert. "Nothing really compares to a homemade ragù, and once you discover pangrattato, you'll crave it on everything."

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 each onion, celery stalk, red capsicum, and small fennel bulb, cut into large dice
  • 10 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 long red chilli, split lengthways
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 thin strips of orange peel
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 2 each small star anise and cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 100 ml red wine
  • 1 litre (4 cups) passata
  • 50 gm brown sugar
  • 1 kg boneless trimmed lamb shoulder, cut into 5cm pieces
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Finely grated parmesan, to serve
Gnocchetti
  • 250 gm fine semolina, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Rosemary pangrattato
  • 120 gm (2 cups) breadcrumbs from day-old crustless bread processed to coarse crumbs, then shaken in a sieve to remove fine crumbs
  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp rosemary leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

Method

  • 1
    Heat olive oil, vegetables, garlic and chilli in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften and caramelise (10-12 minutes). Add tomato paste, herbs, peel and spices, and stir until beginning to brown (2 minutes). Add red wine, passata, bring to a simmer, then add sugar and 2½ tsp salt. Add lamb, cover directly with a round of baking paper or with a lid, reduce heat to low, and braise gently until meat is almost falling apart (2 hours). Leave to cool (1-2 hours).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, for gnocchetti, mix semolina, olive oil, 125ml cold water and a pinch of salt in a bowl until smooth and combined. Pat into a disc, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and leave to rest for an hour.
  • 3
    For pangrattato, stir ingredients in a large frying pan over low-medium heat until golden brown and crisp (15-20 minutes). Drain on paper towels and leave to cool.
  • 4
    Skim any fat from the surface of the ragù, remove lamb, shred into small pieces and set aside. Pass remaining ragù through a mouli or coarse sieve into a saucepan, pressing with a large spoon to get as much pulp as possible. Discard solids in sieve, then reduce ragù over medium heat until thick and glossy (30-40 minutes). Return lamb to ragù, adjust seasoning to taste and keep warm.
  • 5
    Roll out gnocchetti dough on a well-floured bench until a 1cm-thick square. Cut into pieces about 1cm x 3cm long, then roll each piece lengthways over a gnocchi board, pressing with your thumb; if you don't have a board, form the shape with a fork. Transfer to trays dusted with semolina and scatter with more semolina.
  • 6
    Blanch gnochetti in batches in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until they float (1-2 minutes). Transfer to ragù with a slotted spoon and stir in butter over low heat. Serve topped with parmesan and rosemary pangrattato.

Notes

Drink Suggestion: A nero d'Avola, such as Brash Higgins from McClaren Vale. Drink suggestion by Franck Moreau.

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  • Author: Mike Eggert & Jemma Whiteman