CK’s Lamb Ragu
This is one of the restaurant’s “slow food” dishes, using local and seasonal ingredients and requiring time to cook. As Simone explains, “We wanted something that your mom would make that cooked for hours.” This ragu is classic comfort food, is easy to make, and offers a perfect richness for a cold winter night. Get good cheese- -no junk here! Serve in shallow bowls with a piece of crusty bread and a chewy Malbec or Montepulciano.
2lbs. lamb shoulder or leg stew meat cut in 1 inch cubes,
1 onion, diced
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, diced fine
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves separated
⅓ cup olive oil
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups chicken stock or water 1 medium eggplant, sliced one-inch thick
2 cups cooked potato, Peruvian Blue or other Russet, cut in ½ inch diced
3 dozen gnocchi,
laid on top of the ragu and covered with cheese 6 oz Pecorino cheese, coarsely grated
Preheat oven to 400 °F
Brush eggplant with olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper and bake on a baking sheet until lightly browned and quite soft, about 25 minutes. Let cool. Cube the eggplant and reserve for ragu.
In a large brazier, combine lamb, onion, bay leaves, garlic, rosemary and olive oil. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Mix together well and roast uncovered, stirring every 10 minutes until the meat is well-browned, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 325° F.
Add red wine and chicken stock to the meat. On the stovetop with medium heat, bring the mixture, uncovered, to a simmer. Remove from stove, cover and return to oven until lamb is fork-fall-apart tender, about 1 ½ hours. Degrease the pot on the stove at a gentle simmer.
Add the cooked diced eggplant and the potatoes to the pot and stir. Spread 6 ounces of coarsely grated good quality Pecorino cheese across the top. Bake another 15 minutes, the cheese will thicken the liquid, and should brown slightly.