Lets jazz up a weeknight dish with something other than chicken breasts. Have you thought about lamb? Lamb is perfect for changing up the weeknight routine. Ground lamb can be used exactly as ground beef in most recipes. Lamb is flavorful and delicious, and more healthy than ground beef due to the health promoting omega 3 fatty acids. Another benefit is lamb also has less marbling of fat than beef does.
I don’t need to convince you, lamb is not just for special holidays. It’s perfect for everyday.
Weeknight Lamb Ragu
Modified from the NYT
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
One pound ground lamb
1 (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes
12 ounces cooked pasta, noodles or tubes, for serving
A good chunk of Parmesan or pecorino, for serving
A small handful of marjoram, oregano or thyme, for serving.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have become translucent and have totally softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add a pinch of red-pepper flakes, and cook for a minute or two, just to toast the spices.
Add tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring occasionally so it has a chance to stick to the bottom of the pot and caramelize a bit, 2 or 3 minutes.
Add lamb and season with salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon, stir lamb until the fat starts to soften and the meat begins to break down. Continue to cook, stirring frequently until the lamb begins to brown and sizzle in its own fat 5 to 8 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes, stirring to scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pot. Fill the tomato can halfway with water and swirl around to get all the remaining tomato, then add to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until sauce is thickened and is insanely flavorful, 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve sauce mixed into and over pasta with plenty of cheese for grating over the top, scattered with a small handful of marjoram, oregano, or thyme.