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Lamb Ragu Tagliatelle with Citrus, Saffron and Mint

Lamb Ragu Tagliatelle with Citrus, Saffron and Mint


  • A fat pinch of saffron threads

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb

  • Salt and pepper

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 3 large shallots, finely chopped

  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary

  • 1 large curl orange peel, plus 1 tablespoon zest

  • 1 large curl lemon peel, plus 1 tablespoon zest

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 1 pound egg tagliatelle

  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a small pot, steep the saffron in the stock over medium heat while you make the ragu. In a medium Dutch oven or large skillet, heat the EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium-high. Add the lamb and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic, shallots, rosemary and citrus peels; stir for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer until the mixture is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the saffron stock and reduce the heat to medium. Let the sauce simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until al dente. On a cutting board, chop together the orange zest, lemon zest, mint and parsley. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the startchy cooking water. Stir the cooking water into the sauce. Remove the rosemary sprig and peels from the sauce. Top the pasta with the sauce and sprinkle with the citrus-herb mixture.