Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray from 30-Minute Meals. Serves 6.
- 2 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
- 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
- Fine sea salt and black pepper
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano or marjoram, leaves finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 large fresh bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 small red chile pepper, such as fresno or cherry, finely chopped
- About 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- A small handful pitted kalamata olives, finely chopped, or 2 tablespoons black olive tapenade
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- A few grates fresh nutmeg
- 1 pound ziti pasta
- 1/2 pound brick greek feta cheese, drained and finely crumbled
- A handful each flat-leaf parsley and fresh mint, finely chopped
Heat a large dutch oven over high heat. Add the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, and the lamb; brown the lamb, caramelizing the meat to deep brown. Add lots of black pepper, sea salt, the oregano (or marjoram for a milder taste), garlic, onion, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and chile pepper and cook for 7 to 8 minutes to soften.
Add the tomato paste and olives (or tapenade) and stir for 30 seconds. Add the wine and deglaze the pan; add the milk and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add nutmeg to taste and simmer the ragÃ¹ while you cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the hot pot with half of the finely crumbled feta. Discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Add the ragÃ¹ to the ziti and stir, adding in the pasta cooking water as necessary to move the heavy ragÃ¹ around the pasta. Serve in shallow bowls topped with the remaining feta and the finely chopped parsley and mint.