January 20, 2009

Lamb Minestrone

We've only had 1 week of classes after Christmas break and already we've been off for three snow days. Well, two of them--last Thursday & Friday--were "cold days," the weather being too blustery to have school. With yesterday being a holiday, I've had the last five days off.

Remind me to stop complaining about my job.

You would think that with all those days off, there'd be a flurry of activity in my kitchen. Not so. I brewery hopped in St. Louis on Thursday, grocery shopped & errand ran on Friday, baked a cheesecake then made another batch of ravioli with Jerad's family for his birthday on Saturday, had a impromptu day of slot-machining & drinking with Sarah on Sunday, and enjoyed a lazy day at home on Sunday...watching movies in front of the fire, reading, baking bread, and making soup.

Lamb Minestrone
adapted from Tyler's Ultimate

10 cups chicken stock
11 cloves garlic
1/2 pound small rigatoni
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 fresh sage leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary, needles only
1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves only
1 pound ground lamb
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery ribs, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 (28-ounce) can crushed plum tomatoes
1 bay leaf

1 sprig fresh thyme
juice of 1 lemon2 (28-ounce) cans cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 bunch fresh parsley leaves, finely minced
Coarsely ground black pepper
Kosher salt


  • Combine the stock and 8 cloves of smashed garlic in a big saucepan and simmer for about 15 minutes to give the stock a nice, garlicky taste; strain out the garlic. Keep warm.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the rigatoni. Boil the pasta for about 6 minutes; it will be undercooked. Drain & set aside.
  • Pour 1/4 cup olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the sage & rosemary and warm the oil over medium heat to infuse it with the flavor of the herbs, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add carrots, celery, onion, & 3 cloves of minced garlic and cook until soft but not browned. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Cook the lamb in the pan (add more oil if needed), breaking up the meat with the side of a big spoon until well browned.
  • To the pan with the sausage stir in the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, lemon, cannelloni beans, black pepper, salt, and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Stir the pasta into the simmering soup. Cook for a few minutes until pasta is done.
  • Add the parsley and taste for seasoning. Discard the bay leaf before serving.

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