|CLASSIC pasta||pinci (pici) with lamb and sausage ragu (also pappardelle or penne)|
Pinci, or pici, are home-made long noodles of egg-less pasta, native to
the Tuscan south, especially Montalcino and Pienza. They are truly a
delight, perfect for Tuscan hearty sauces.
We brought our pinci home with us from Montalcino, and we have a wonderful lamb and sausage ragu that was perfect with this pasta, creating a wonderful evening with all the Tuscan memories wafting around he dining room.
As noted above, pappardelle, the wide egg noodles, or penne, or even fettuccine would work wonderfully with this sauce, which we have designated simply and without fanfare as "the best lamb ragu ever".
for the sauce:
for the pasta:
Place two tablespoons of the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the sausage and lamb. Add salt and pepper and brown the meat, turning it over as you go until it is browned all over. Throughout the browning, constantly work the chopped meat with a wooden spoon to break it up as much as possible (in fact make sure it is all broken up).
Remove the meat and set aside. Drain the fat, most of it anyway (leaving all the good, brown bits) from the pan.
Add the third tablespoon of the olive oil to the sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic. After twenty seconds add the onion. Two minutes later add the celery and carrots. Cook another three minutes until the carrot gets soft.
Have the heat high, then add the wine, to deglaze the pan. Cook for about two minutes until the alcohol is dissipated and the wine reduced by half.
Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the browned meat. Add the bay leaf, oregano, thyme and rosemary. Stir. Add the tomatoes, and then add the beef broth. Stir. Bring to a boil and then cover and lower to a simmer.
Simmer away, probably an hour or two, until you have a sauce with a wonderful consistency: moist with just enough liquid to meld with the pasta.
When the sauce is done, remove from the heat, discard the bay leaf and sprigs. Add several grinds of pepper and a half teaspoon of salt. Stir, taste and adjust.
Meanwhile bring 4-5 quarts of water to a boil. Add two tablespoons of salt. Drop in the pasta and stir. Continue cooking until al dente. If using pinci, this may take fifteen minutes or so. Test regularly. When right, reserve a cup of the pasta liquid, and drain.
Re-heat the sauce, add the pasta, and stir. If not moist enough, add the reserved liquid as needed. We find that covering the sauced pasta, and turning up the hest to high for two minutes at the most, we can guarantee a truly hot, steaming presentation.
Serve with ample parmesan and some chopped parsley. Best lamb ragu ever, right?