Lamb Caponata with Balsamic Vinegar, Pine Nuts and Raisins

We had this for dinner last night and it was delicious. It started out as a Sweet and Sour Caponata (inspired by Mario Batali) and then eventually morphed into a kind of Lamb Ragout… So in classic ‘Abbey Style’ I have come up with a recipe that began as several crazy ideas running throughout my head. Hope you like it as much as we did…
(serves 4-6 ppl)
-Boil 1 lb. of pasta (we used whole wheat rigatoni)
-Brown 1 lb. of ground lamb in a large, dry skillet on medium-heat. Season with S&P and ground allspice.
-Remove meat from pan and reserve for later. Drain off some of the excess fat in the skillet.
-Add 4 small Japanese eggplants, cubed and 1 medium onion, diced. Soften and lightly brown.
-Throw in a handful each of raisins and pine nuts and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Stir and cook for a bit until you smell the garlic.
-Add lamb back to pan. Stir again.
-Deglaze pan with about 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, bring to a bubble.
-Add 1 8oz can of tomato sauce, 2 TB of sugar, a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes, a good sprinkling of ground cinnamon, a tsp. of unsweetened cocoa powder and a few TB’s of fresh thyme leaves.
-Allow mixture to thicken and the flavors to meld together. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. It should be sour, salty, sweet and savory.
-Add cooked pasta to skillet and toss to combine.
-Before plating, add a small handful of fresh mint that you’ve finely chopped and another handful of grated or shaved Asiago cheese (Parm or Romano would work too)

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  • Reply Chef E June 17, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    This sounds great- I have to get my lamb on again. I am rotating meat once a month to lose weight, but I might have to treat myself!

  • Reply Tinky June 18, 2010 at 1:44 am

    This sounds like a great combination, Abbey, and I LOVE lamb! I like the way your mind works…

  • Reply Everyday Champagne June 20, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    I love lamb too, but I'm still working on loving the way my mind works… 🙂 hard to keep up sometimes!

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