Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Lamb and squash pasta

Lamb and squash ragu(ish) over past shells -- do they have a real name? Anyone?

Yes, lamb again. I just can't get enough. I actually started out wanting to make a pumpkin risotto recipe JaneAnne sent me (and I will, someday). But when I got to the Coop I heard the siren call of the delicata, so I decided to make the same recipe with that. Then I got to the meat, and as I reached for the bacon I spied some lamb stew meat. I thought I could try the recipe with lamb instead of bacon. Then when I got home I saw The Great Bowl of Pasta Shells, and though, maybe I'd better use that up.

What is The Great Bowl of Pasta Shells? Well...It may please some of you to hear that Jasper, like most toddlers, is a picky eater. I feed him Annie's macaroni and cheese nearly every day because it's one of the few foods I can persuade him to eat in substantial amounts (if you cook it with milk instead of water and add butter to the cheese powder it's actually pretty tasty). While it is made from real cheese and uses organic ingredients, and I usually add some chopped fresh tomato, I am still troubled by Annie's constant presence at most meals.

I thought I could come up with my own version, in an equally convenient form. So I boiled up an entire one-pound bag of pasta shells al dente and mixed it all with butter. Then, the idea went, I would microwave small amounts with a little milk and grated cheese. Well, that's an awfully long way to go through a pound of pasta. And Jasper was starting to get bored with it already (strange, he never tires of Annie's...). So that's how we ended up with a large, aging bowl of pasta shells. And that's why I decided not to make yet more starch. Why didn't I just throw the pasta out? BECAUSE I WAS RAISED MORMON AND WE ARE INCAPABLE OF WASTING FOOD.

But back to the more flavorful part of this post...I started out by heating two tablespoons of olive oil and cooking a chopped shallot. When it was softened I added the lamb stew meat and browned it. I added just enough chicken stock to cover the meat, along with about a quarter cup of wine, and scraped up the browned bits at the bottom of the pot. I threw in some thyme and rosemary and simmered this for about 10 minutes while I chopped three delicata squashes I'd steamed beforehand. JaneAnne mentioned that she cooks squashes in their skin because this makes them easier to peel; I agree.

At this point I threw in the pasta, added about a quarter cup more olive oil, and mixed everything well. I cooked the pasta for about two minutes and then added the squash, cooked that a couple more minutes, and then served with shaved Parmesan and ground pepper. It was rich, earthy, stick-to-your-ribs hearty fare.

As for Jasper, I bought him a can of Annie's cheese raviolli. But before he could eat that I fed him some cooked squash.


Anonymous said...

I hear you on the not wasting food thing. It's why I have to go spend $6 on eggs and cream to make bread pudding out of a $2 loaf of stale bread. Well, that and I love bread pudding.

Amy S. Grant said...

What a cute blog, I love it. I have a 20-month old named Sally. I am also a big fan of lamb. Sally hasn't come around to it yet, but she will, trust me (it's only a matter of time). Check out my success blog if you get a chance. But don't read it unless you really want to change someth..., well you'll see for yourself.

DramaLady said...

Hi. C O'D told me to read your blog, and I love it.

I just wanted to suggest- have you ever done the Annie's with yogurt instead of the milk and butter? It's really good, esp. the whole milk stonyfields. Gets you some extra acidophilus and stuff.