Thursday, November 12, 2009

Loving the leftovers...

Today was definitely one of those days I could have made two slices of toast with PB & J and called it a night. At school today, we had our "mock" midterm exam -- pulling two dishes out of a hat (mind you, most of us had made the dishes only ONCE) and cooking them to be presented at a given set time. Needless to say, I am exhausted!

However, during the insanity that was my day, I didn't really have lunch. Does a slice of apple tart with a large quenelle of chantilly and a bite of pork chop count? For me, not quite. So, my tummy (that is getting ready for 15 miles this weekend) wanted some stick-to-the-bones food.

No one wants to go to the grocery store tired, cold and hungry. Neither did I. So, I had to be creative with what I had in the kitchen. Let's see: two leftover braised lamb shanks from Sunday night; a can of diced San Marzano tomatoes, onions, pasta... My mind clearly was craving pasta!

(Sorry for the fogginess - blame it on the steam!)

As I heated some olive oil and sauteed some veg to add a little sweetness to my sauce, I discovered a nearly completely eaten bag of grapes in the fridge. Hmm. Cold grapes? Not quite. Now roasted grapes, tossed with some greens and an apple cider reduction I made last week. The perfect seasonal compliment to my lamb ragu (and a glass of pinot grigio with a healthy splash of St. Germain).

Leftover Lamb Ragu

2 lamb shanks, braised and quickly reheated to warm the meat
Olive oil
1/2 medium onion
1/2 small carrot, diced
1/2 celery stalk, diced
28 oz can diced San Marzano tomatoes

Heat olive oil in saucepan. Sweat the onion, then add the carrot and celery. Add a pinch of salt. Cook til color brightens and veg release flavor. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add lamb and reduce to a simmer. Cook til tender and a bit reduced, season to taste. Serve over freshly cooked pasta. Excellent with a basil chiffonade.

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