Curly-Edged Pasta With Lamb Ragu

“Ragoût” is French; “ragù,” Italian; and this meat sauce recipe is certainly inspired by the Sicilian combination of sweet lamb, dried wild mint, and crushed red pepper flakes, though I’ve added an Anglo note with a little red currant jelly (as well as the dash of Worcestershire sauce). If you were to have more time, then the sauce would benefit from being cooked at a lower heat for longer, but note I do not say “improved.” This is perfect as it is, and is one of my go-to weeknight suppers.

I do love pappardelle, wide egg-rich ribbons, here, but mafaldine, these Neapolitan curly-edged pasta—like pappardelle with a party dress on—really make my heart sing.

Serves 2

1 1⁄2 tablespoons garlic-flavored oil
1 echalion or banana shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 ounces ground lamb
1 x 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons red currant jelly
1 1⁄2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (such as lea & perrkins)
pinch salt, plus more for pasta water
freshly ground pepper 8 ounces mafaldine or
pappardelle fresh mint, to serve (optional)

Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta; then warm the garlic-flavored oil in a small, heavy-based saucepan (with a lid), and cook the shallots, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Sprinkle in the herbs and red pepper flakes, stirring again in the hot pan before adding the meat and cooking for a couple of minutes, stirring to break it up with a wooden spatula or spoon, until it loses a bit of its pinkness.

Add the tomatoes, red currant jelly, Worcestershire sauce, pinch of salt, and some grindings of pepper, give a good stir, and bring to a bubble, then partially cover with the lid and simmer for 20 minutes.

Check the instructions on the pasta package and at the appropriate time, salt the boiling water and cook your pappardelle, making sure to check for readiness a couple of minutes before it’s supposed to be done. Once cooked and not-too-efficiently drained, return the pasta to the pan and dress it with the lamb ragù. Sprinkle a little fresh mint, should you have some, onto each warmed bowl as you serve.