Preserving Summer's Bounty of Tomatoes for this Smokey Lamb Bolognese

This is a quick Bolognese sauce that would rival the depth and richness of a long-cooked version.

 Smokey Lamb Bolognese found on pages 239 & 240 in   The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook   (Skyhorse Publishing).

Smokey Lamb Bolognese found on pages 239 & 240 in The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook (Skyhorse Publishing).

Serves 6

1 28-ounce can high-quality whole, peeled tomatoes in juice, preferably San Marzano or about 2 pounds freshly-picked tomatoes, skins removed, flesh and seeds separated, and the fresh juices extracted

1/4 pound bacon, diced

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 small yellow onion, diced not small pieces

1 large carrot, peeled and diced into small pieces

1 small fennel bulb, fronds removed and reserved, bulb quartered and diced into 1/4-inch pieces

1 dried chipotle pepper

1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley stems

4 fresh thyme sprigs

2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 pound ground pastured lamb

3/4 cup fresh rough chopped flat leaf parsley leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 pound fresh pasta, such as broad egg noodles, pappardelle, or fettuccine

METHOD OF PREPARATION

Coarsely chop the tomatoes and place them in a bowl with any accumulated juice.  Set aside.

Saute the bacon in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until the fat begins to render.  Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to the pot.  Add the onion, carrot, fennel, chipotle pepper, parsley stems, and thyme sprigs.  Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add the lamb and season with salt and pepper.  Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, breaking up the meat with a fork, until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, along with any accumulated juice, and parsley leaves.  Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick, about 35 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove and discard the chipotle pepper and thyme sprigs.

When the Bolognese is almost done, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water.  Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.  Add half of the sauce and toss to coat well, adding more sauce as desired.  If the sauce seems too dry, stir in the pasta water as needed.  Garnish with some of the reserved fennel fronds and sprinkles of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  Serve with Olive Oil and Sea Sale Crostini (found on page 242 in The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook).

Note: Allow the sauce to cool completely. Ladle bolognese into freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags and label with date, then transfer to the freezer. The bolognese will last 3 to 4 months in the freezer.

Recipe from The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook (Skyhorse Publishing, Oct. 2017) by Tracey Medeiros.