We are finally getting some warm summer weather here in the Pacific NW (a little too hot for my taste) but you won’t hear any complaints from me considering what the rest of the country is going through. The thermometer hit 102° on Saturday (a record for August 4th) and I have to admit I almost melted by the end of the day at the farmers’ market. The market is situated on a very large asphalt parking lot and there is no shade anywhere so everyone was really feeling the heat. The thought of walking into my cool house at the end of the day and popping the cap off a very cold beer is what kept me going.
I don’t cook much when the weather gets this hot and dinner is usually a salad or something light cooked on the grill. But pasta sounded good on Sunday and I had a quart of this delicious sauce in the freezer so all the cooking that was required was bringing a pot of water to a boil. I love this sauce for its rich blend of tomatoes, roasted red peppers and red wine.
Simple recipes always seem extra special when they are served on beautiful dishes. These Italian pasta bowls were purchased at William-Sonoma several years ago.
I set aside some sauce to top toasted slices of a baguette I bought at the farmers’ market on Saturday.
Brush thick slices of bread with a little olive oil and place under the broiler until lightly toasted on both sides. Top with warm ragu and sprinkle with a bit of grated Parmesan cheese. How’s that for a simple and very tasty lunch?
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pound ground lamb, or beef if you prefer
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 14-ounce can tomatoes, chopped or 2 cups homemade stewed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ cup red wine, or more if the sauce gets too thick
- 2 red bell peppers, roasted, skinned and chopped
- ½ cup kalamata olives, sliced
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- sprigs of fresh oregano for garnish
- Saute garlic, chilies and bay leaves in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add lamb and onion and cook until onion is transparent and meat is slightly browned. Add tomatoes, oregano and wine and simmer for 30 minutes. Add a little more wine if the mixture gets too thick. Add peppers and olives and simmer another 20 minutes. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve over pasta and garnish with pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and additional chopped parsley.
Are you curious about the difference between a ragout and a ragu? The food dictionary at Epicurious.com defines them this way:
Ragout [ra-GOO] – A derivative of the French verb ragoûter , meaning “to stimulate the appetite,” ragoût is a thick, rich, well-seasoned stew of meat, poultry or fish that can be made with or without vegetables.
Ragu [ra-GOO] – A staple of northern Italy’s Bologna, ragu is a meat sauce that is typically served with pasta. Though different than the French ragout, both are derived from the verb ragoûter , which means “to stimulate the appetite.” Ragu usually contains ground beef, tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots, white wine and seasonings.
This post is linked to Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm.