- 900 g or 2 lbs lamb shanks (2–3 shanks)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 60 ml or ¼ c olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 3 leeks, white part only, cut into thin slices
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 120 ml or 4 oz full-bodied, dry red wine
- 120 ml or ½ c light meat or chicken stock
- 1 28 oz can Italian tomatoes, with juice
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 long strips of orange zest
- a small handful of fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped, plus three sprigs for garnish
- 12 fresh basil leaves
- 454 g or 1 lb pappardelle
- 90 g or 1 c grated pecorino romano cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy, flameproof casserole dish, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the lamb shanks and brown them well on all sides (5-10 minutes). Remove the shanks to a plate.
- Drain all but 1 tbsp of fat from the pan. Sauté the leeks, carrots and celery over medium heat until soft and fragrant (6-8 minutes). Add the garlic and gently sauté, without letting it colour (1 minute). Add the red wine and reduce it by half (3-5 minutes). Add the stock, tomatoes with their juice, bay leaf and orange zest. Bring to a boil. Return the shanks to the pan and place them in the oven, and braise until the lamb is very tender (1 to 1 1/2 hours).
- Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and tent with aluminium foil to keep warm. Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce. Add the chopped mint and basil. Adjust the seasonings.
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente (8-10 minutes). Drain well.
- Put the pasta in a warmed, large, shallow bowl and add about 2 tbsp of the grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss. Pour on about ¾ of the sauce and toss again. Garnish with the mint sprigs. Pass the remaining cheese at the table.
- Slice the lamb thinly and arrange on a platter. Pour on the remaining sauce, and serve as a second course with a side dish of green vegetables, such as green beans, rapini or asparagus.
- Makes 4 main-course servings.
You can substitute a couple of pounds of stewing lamb meat for the shanks, as I did with the leftover leg of lamb. In that case, leave the meat in the braising liquid in step 3 and serve it over the pasta. You’ll end up with enough ragu for about eight servings; it freezes well.
Adapted from Williams Sonoma Slow-Cooker Lamb Shanks