It is so incredibly satisfying to cook a hearty meat sauce while is it pouring outside! Especially when said sauce is an ale lamb bolognese and you have a few more bottles of the same ale to drink while cooking and eating. And, most importantly your best friend to share it with! We even sweetened things up by roasting some baby carrots smothered in beer glaze.
Last night our ale of choice was 90 Shilling – Odell Brewing Co.’s flagship ale for almost a gazillion years. Everyone around here knows 90 Shilling and they also know that in reality it doesn’t look red like in the picture on the brewery’s site:). It is a beautiful dark amber color, it is fragrant, it is sweet and toasty, and it is medium bodied and crisp. As in you can have a few if you had to, without any effort.
90 Shilling is a lighter version of traditional Scottish ales (ahem, do you see why we picked it on a rainy, foggy day?) and it never disappoints. As a recipe ingredient it is perfect to use with a variety of foods – most recently I braised baby bok choy with it, sooo good, I will post the recipe soon.
Chris wouldn’t let me put more than one carrot in the ale lamb bolognese, so I resorted to roasting baby carrots as ‘garnish’. (Seriously, whoever garnishes a pasta dish with a bunch of beer glazed carrots? Hehe. But he knows of the benefits of not arguing with the post author:) Plus, they really are an awesome side. I got to serve them though and we ate them and he praised them!
As for the choice of pasta for this sauce – you have to go papardelle. It is necessary. You need to have wonderful al dente wide bands with which to mop up the deliciousness. Even I agree and ate the papardelle, which is a huge deal. I have issues with pasta thicker than fettuccine – the texture doesn’t agree with me, or maybe my gagging reflex doesn’t agree with the texture. I know… even though it tastes good, I cannot keep it down. Getting better lately, but not holding my breath for the day when I will be stuffing my face with ravioli. Probably won’t happen.
Ts, ts, ts… But hey, some people cannot swallow cooked mushrooms and this is way, way worse:) In any event, we won’t be posting a ton about penne and other thick and fancy shaped pasta products, I apologize. Unless Chris fixes himself a meal that I feel should make it here:)
For the record, before moving on to the recipe, please know that we did cook the ale lamb bolognese in a dutch oven. It is just that I had a certain set up in mind for the picture.
It’s hard to photograph food in dutch ovens when using artificial light and I had to go there because of the prolific rainy weather we have been having. Bad, bad light. I transferred the sauce to a smaller sauce pan for the picture and totally hurried through the process, because when something smells and looks this delicious Chris is not too happy holding up a daylight lamp and shining it onto a set up. Me neither.
So we chose not to let the sauce get cold and shorted the picture taking. What would you do?
Recipe for Ale Lamb Bolognese
- 1 lb ground lamb
- ½ lb pappardelle
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced very small
- 1 amber or other ale with dry finish and low IBU (i.e. not bitter)
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- ¼ cup dry mushrooms
- ½ cup good quality tomato sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tbsp butter
- ¼ cup Parmesan, grated plus more for garnish
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig
- Put the thyme, bay leaf, rosemary and garlic in the middle of a piece of cheesecloth and make an herb sachet using kitchen string.
- Heat a dutch oven or a heavy bottomed deep pan over medium-high heat.
- Melt 1 tbsp of the butter and cook the ground lamb, making sure it is browned all over.
- Add the onion and carrot, stir well and cook until they begin to get soft.
- Add the beer and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Bring to boil and add the water.
- Add the herb sachet.
- Add the mushrooms and tomato sauce.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir well and cover.
- Let simmer over medium-low heat for about 1 hour, checking once in a while to stir.
- In about an hour, cook pasta in pot of salted water.
- When ready (7 min for al dente), strain, reserving some of the water.
- Remove the herb sachet form the sauce, add the Parmesan and other 1 tbsp butter and stir. If too thick, add a little bit of the reserved pasta water and stir until nice and creamy.
- Add pasta to sauce and stir well.
- Serve immediately.