It doesn't get more delicious than this pasta dish with lamb ragu.
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large carrots, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 pound boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3/4 cup dry red wine
One 28-ounce can peeled Italian tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juices reserved
1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound rigatoni
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving
In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the carrots, onion and red bell pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a plate.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the casserole. Add the pancetta and stir once or twice over moderately high heat until sizzling. Add the lamb and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the meat is browned, 10 minutes. Return the vegetables to the casserole. Add the red wine and simmer until evaporated, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the casserole. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the chicken stock, bay leaf and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and black pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is very tender, 1 1/2 hours. Discard the bay leaf.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the rigatoni until al dente. Drain the rigatoni and toss with half of the lamb ragù. Serve the pasta in large bowls, passing the remaining lamb ragù and the Pecorino cheese at the table.
The lamb ragù can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
A soft, generous Montepulciano d'Abruzzo will combine well with the pungent lamb and sweet carrots.