Moroccan-style pasta bolognese
Cumin, coriander and cinnamon – as well as lamb rather than the traditional beef – give this classic meat sauce a little spin. Since the sauce makes enough for 900g of pasta, I make it on a lazy Sunday and freeze half of it (or all of it, in two batches) for a no-fuss weeknight meal or weekend dinner later on
Moroccan-style pasta bolognese
- sea salt
- 450g long pasta, such as tagliatelle, fettuccine, linguine or spaghetti
- 175ml full-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 625ml (½ quantity) Moroccan Lamb Bolognese Sauce (see below) warmed
- coarsely chopped fresh coriander or mint
- freshly grated Parmesan for serving
- freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and salt until it tastes like the ocean (taste it). Add the pasta and cook, stirring, until al dente.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt and 1-2 tbsp of the pasta cooking liquid to loosen it just a bit. Set aside.
Scoop out about 175ml of the pasta cooking liquid and reserve. Drain the pasta and return it to the pan. Add the butter, Bolognese Sauce and a tbsp or two of the pasta cooking liquid. Toss together to combine, adding more pasta cooking liquid by the tablespoonful if the pasta appears dry. Transfer to serving bowls. Dollop with the yogurt and top with coriander or mint, Parmesan and black pepper.
…and for the Moroccan Lamb Bolognese Sauce
For quick work, you can chop the onion, carrot, celery and garlic together in a food processor. The sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ small onion, finely chopped (about 115g)
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 675g lamb mince
- 1¾ tsp ground cumin
- 1¼ tsp ground coriander
- ¾ tsp red chilli flakes
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- sea salt and freshly ground
- black pepper
- 175ml whole milk
- 175ml dry red wine
- 1 x 800g (or 2 x 400g) tin whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, with their juices
In a large casserole or other wide heavy saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted and foamy. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent, 6-8 minutes. Add the lamb and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat into bits with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 6 minutes.
Stir in the cumin, coriander, red chilli flakes, cinnamon, ¾ tsp salt and a generous pinch of pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the milk. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer until the sauce is thickened, 3-5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until mostly evaporated, 8-10 minutes more.
Add the tomatoes and their juices, then reduce the heat to low. Break up the tomatoes into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, then gently simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adding water by ½ cupfuls if the sauce becomes dry, until the sauce is deeply flavourful, about 3 hours. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve, or let cool before storing or freezing.