As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite kind of blogging is thinking of a dish, cooking it, eating it, and blogging about it, all in a single day. And that is exactly what I’ve done today. Well actually, not exactly. Because I had already put the lamb shanks in the sous-vide two days ago, so they would be ready for dinner tonight. I just hadn’t decided what I was going to do with them yet. (If you don’t have sous-vide, you could still make this dish by cooking the lamb shanks in the oven instead.)
Lamb shanks are one of my favorite things to prepare sous-vide. They are economical, flavorful, and always come out tender and juicy after 48 hours at 62C/144F. This morning on the train to work I was catching up on other blogs as usual, and by coincidence Conor had just published spiced lamb shanks sous-vide. (If you don’t want to take my word for it that you should get sous-viding, too, go visit his blog and take his. Even though his daughter had to bankrupt herself to get him the sous-vide.) It was too late for the lamb shanks already in the sous-vide to make them as suggested by Conor (which I certainly will for my next batch), as that would have required me to go back in time and vacuum seal them with spices.
Then I remembered that thanks to an unusually warm January we already have fresh mint growing in our garden. And so I decided it would be nice to make a pasta version of the classic lamb with peas and mint. When I got home, it took me half an hour to cook and photograph this delicious dish. I used dried tagliatelle, but if you have the time it would be even better with fresh pasta. Here’s what I did…
For 2 servings (as ‘piatto unico’)
1 large or 2 small lamb shanks, about 450 grams (1 lb), already cooked sous-vide
150 grams (.33 lb) tagliatelle
150 grams (1 1/4 cup) peas (fresh or frozen)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp minced fresh mint leaves
60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine
60 ml (1/4 cup) lamb stock
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated pecorino cheese
1 tsp corn starch
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan. Over medium heat, sweat a sliced onion until it is soft and golden but not browned, about 10 minutes. It is important to stir the onions regularly.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While you are cooking the onions and you are waiting for the water to boil, combine the juices from the sous-vide pouch with 60 ml lamb stock.
Make a slurry of a teaspoon of corn starch with a tablespoon of cold water. Add this slurry to the lamb stock mixture…
…and stir to incorporate. Reserve.
Take the meat off the bones and trim the meat of membranes and such.
Chop the meat.
When the onions are golden, add 60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine.
Bring the wine to a boil, then add 150 grams peas (they may still be frozen).
When the water boils, add salt and the pasta. Set the timer for the time indicated on the package for al dente.
Add the lamb stock mixture to the peas.
Bring to a boil, and stir for a minute or so until the peas are cooked and the sauce has thickened somewhat.
Now add the chopped meat…
…and stir to incorporate.
When the timer beeps, drain the pasta and add to the ragù. Add a tablespoon of minced mint leaves as well.
Stir until the pasta is coated with the sauce.
Serve at once on preheated plates.
Speculaas (for some reason often spelled as speculoos outside the Netherlands) is great as it is, but my favorite is speculaas filled with almond paste.