Moroccan-Style Pasta Bolognese
Conversation Starter: How do you find your stillness?
Serves 4 to 6
Cumin, coriander, and cinnamon —as well as lamb rather than the traditional beef— give this classic meat sauce a little spin. Since the sauce makes enough for 2 pounds of pasta, I make it on a lazy Sunday and freeze half of it (or all of it, in two batches) for a no-fuss weeknight meal or weekend dinner later on.
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound long pasta, such as tagliatelle, fettuccine, linguine, or spaghetti
- ¾ cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 ½ cups Moroccan Lamb Bolognese Sauce, warmed (see Notes below)
- Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or mint
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving
- Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt ‘til it tastes like the ocean (taste it). Add the pasta and cook, stirring, until al dente.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt and 1 to 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking liquid to loosen it just a bit. Set aside.
Scoop out about ¾ cup of the pasta cooking liquid and reserve. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the butter, Bolognese sauce, and a tablespoon or two of the pasta cooking liquid. Toss together to combine, adding more pasta cooking liquid by the spoonful if the pasta appears dry.
Transfer to serving bowls. Dollop with the yogurt and top with cilantro or mint, parm, and black pepper.
Moroccan Lamb Bolognese Sauce
Makes 5 cups
- 2 tabelspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ small onion, finely chopped (about ¾ cup)
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 ½ pounds ground lamb
- 1 ¾ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 ¼ teaspoons ground coriander
- ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ cup whole milk
- ¾ cup dry red wine
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, with their juices
In a large Dutch oven or other wide heavy pot, heat the oil and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted and foamy. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the lamb and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat into bits with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 6 minutes.
Stir in the cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, ¾ teaspoon salt, and a generous pinch of pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the milk. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer until the sauce is thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until mostly evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes more.
Add the tomatoes and their juices, then reduce the heat to low. Break up the tomatoes into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, then gently simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adding water by ½ cupfuls if the sauce becomes dry, until the sauce is deeply flavorful, about 3 hours. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve, or let cool before storing. (The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw if frozen and gently reheat over low heat, stirring occasionally, and adding 2 to 4 tablespoons water as necessary before serving.)
TIP: For quick work, you can chop the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic together in a food processor.
Moroccan-Style Pasta Bolognese is excerpted from ANTONI IN THE KITCHEN © 2019 by Antoni Porowski with Mindy Fox. Photography © 2019 by Paul Brissman. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.