Penne with Slow Braised Lamb Shoulder Ragu

I can't decide what to cook with these fluctuating temperatures! I give up on trying to cook for the seasons, lets just go free for all and do some of my favourite recipes...

Lamb shoulder is a great cut of meat, if you've never cooked with it, go to your butcher and grab a split lamb shoulder (or lamb shoulder bone-out), rub garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary on it and chuck it on a super-hot bbq for half an hour or so, make sure its nicely charred on the outside and pink in the middle, and leave it to rest for about 10-15 minutes before thinly slicing it... You wont be disappointed.
If you've been there and done that, then give this recipe a go next time you have a bit of time and a hankering for lamby goodness...

You will need... (10 serves and some leftover for freezing ;-))
2.5-3kg bone-out lamb shoulder, trimmed of most of the fat, skin and sinew
salt & pepper
2 large carrots, peeled, diced
2 large celery sticks, diced
1 large brown onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tbs olive oil
3 sprigs rosemary or thyme
1/2 bottle of red wine
4 tbs tomato paste
4 420ml tins of chopped Italian tomatoes
2Lt beef or veal stock, heated
1 packet of large penne pasta
2 cups kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 bunch mint
100gr unsalted butter
freshly shaved parmesan for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius (160 degrees celsius, fan forced)
2. Grab the largest frying pan you have/or turn your barbecue grill plate to high heat. Season the lamb shoulder and seal in half the olive oil over a high heat on both sides until well browned. Place in a large, deep roasting tray.
2. Use the same frying pan to brown the vegetables in the remaining olive oil, then add the garlic and herbs. Add the tomato paste and red wine and stir well, cook on high for 2 minutes, then add the tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil.
3. Pour the tomato and vegetable mix into the roasting tray with enough stock to completely cover the lamb (this depends on the size of your roasting tray). Cover with greaseproof paper and seal with aluminium foil so no heat can escape. Place in the oven and set a timer for 1 hr.
4. Once one hour has passed, carefully turn the lamb in the tray and replace with new foil. Set timer for another hour. Repeat this process one more time.
5. Once lamb has cooked for 3 hours check to see that it is falling apart by pulling at a side with a pair of tongs. If it still seems firm, place back in the oven for 30 minute intervals until cooked. If it is tender and breaking away with the tongs, carefully remove it from the liquid and transfer to a separate bowl or tray.
6. Cook your pasta as per packet instructions. Pour the lamb liquid back into the frypan and simmer with the butter until thickened (you want it quite rich and saucy), taste to see if it needs more seasoning then add the olives and mix well.
7. Using a fork or the tongs, pull the lamb apart into thick shreds, you still want it a little bit chunky. Add the lamb back to the thickened sauce.
8. Spoon the sauce into the cooked and drained pasta until well coated. Mix through the chopped mint and serve topped with a generous amount of parmesan


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