I’m sure you can tell by now that one of my favorite things to do is use up leftover ingredients in interesting and exciting ways. Well, at least more exciting then just eating the same meal all over again. On Monday, Sam and I used up our leftover lamb shank in a really easy and delectable way – lamb ragu with fresh gnocchi. One of the things I love about living in New York is having the ability to get any type of fresh ingredient you need at almost any time of day. On my walk home from work, I can get wonderful baguettes (if not Parisian), delicious cheeses, and the freshest of pastas and they always make a regular meal just a little more delicious.
For this ragu, I took my inspiration from Andrew Carmellini. Although I haven’t had the chance to go to his new restaurant, Locanda Verde, his cookbook makes me think it would be a fabulous meal. This recipe was easy to replicate with my precooked lamb shank, although I’m sure it would be even more wonderful if left to stew for an hour as Andrew suggests. This adaptation, though, was perfect for an easy weeknight meal. When I make it again, I will add 2 minced cloves of garlic to this dish, although Andrew did not suggest it, because I thought it was really missing from the overall flavor.
Lamb Ragu with Fresh Potato Gnocchi (adapted from Urban Italian by Andrew Carmellini)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 leftover lamb shank (3/4 of a pound)
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
½ a medium onion, finely diced
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 c. red wine
½ 28 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes
salt & pepper
Chopped parsley (optional for garnish)
Cut all of the meat off of the bone and chop up into small pieces. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the carrots, celery, and onions and cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the lamb and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine completely. Add the wine and cook until it is nearly evaporated. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan completely so that any browned bits are incorporated and do not burn. Add the whole peeled tomatoes and salt and stir to combine. Cook for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes are complete combined, the liquid evaporates, and the ragu is rich and thick. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Cook the gnocchi until all of them rise to the surface of the boiling water (about 8 minutes). Serve the ragu over the gnocchi and top with parmesan cheese.