Homemade pasta is a must, especially for special occasions. I find making it to be very relaxing actually. Think of it as the calm before the storm. In this case, the storm being the kids jacked up on sugar from their Easter baskets.
If you don’t have a go-to fresh pasta recipe, mine is posted here.
Growing up, some of my best memories are celebrating Easter. My family and my uncle, aunt and cousins would all make the trip to my grandparents house the day before – how we all fit in that house is beyond me. All of the kids (me, my brother, sister and two cousins) would all sleep in one room, anxiously awaiting that [creepy] bunny to bring us our baskets. Funny story actually; so one time my older cousin and I decided that we were going to play a trick on her sister, who was a few years younger. When she was asleep, we set up our troll dolls (remember those crazy things?) all around the room, on top of furniture, in the windowsills. The only light in the room was one little nightlight, so you could only see their silhouettes. We woke her up and told her that we were being invaded by aliens. Needless to say, she freaked out, went and woke up her dad, who came back into our room and told me and my cousin that we were assholes. We were 10.
I still think it’s funny.
- 3lbs ground lamb
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1½ teaspoons fresh cracked pepper
- 3 teaspoons za'atar spice
- 1 large (or two small) yellow onion, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 28 ounce can + 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1½ teaspoons madras curry powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons greek yogurt
- crumbled feta, for garnish
- fresh mint and parsley, finely chopped, for garnish
- 1.5 lbs. fresh or dry pappardelle
- In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the lamb, salt, pepper, and za'atar spice, cooking until lamb is browned, about 5 - 7 minutes. Once lamb is browned, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- In the same dutch oven, add the garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onions, celery and carrots, cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stirring frequently, cook for about 2 minutes. Carefully pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer mixture to a blender (or use an immersion blender), blending until smooth. Return the mixture back to dutch oven, add the 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes, curry powder, sugar, 2 tablespoons yogurt and cream. If sauce seems too thick, add a little water to thin (tip: use the pasta water), but it will be more on the thick and velvety side than a traditional bolognese since we blended the veggies here (again, personal preference). Reduce heat to low, add the browned lamb, let simmer for at least an hour.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. Transfer pasta to sauce in dutch oven, stirring to coat evenly.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together remaining greek yogurt and ricotta.
- Divide pasta among bowls or plates, spoon over top extra meat/sauce, then top with a dollop of ricotta yogurt mixture, garnish with crumbled feta and herbs.