This is a deeply satisfying dish that has all the hallmarks of perfect Italian comfort food. A slow-cooked lamb stew with lots of melting onions served with buttery Italian dumplings and lashings of Parmesan.
NB. It's important that you give the lamb the required time on the hob, it will be worth it in the end.
For the Lamb:
720g of diced Irish lamb
4 yellow onions,(608g) peeled and sliced.
2 tbsp flour (30g).
3 tbsp olive oil.
4 cloves of garlic, (19g) peeled and sliced.
1 chicken stock cube, crumbled.
250mls of water.
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar.
Salt and pepper.
Set your oven to 160 degrees.
Turn the lamb in the flour, season and shake off the excess.
Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. When gently smoking, carefully add the lamb and the onions, cook on the hob for 15 - 20 minutes, turning occasionally to make sure everything caramelises evenly.
Add the garlic after 15 minutes or so, then add the balsamic vinegar, water and the stock cube. Bring to a simmer, cover and put in the oven for 1 hour.
For the Gnocchi:
1 packet of gnocchi,
2 tbsp of butter (80g).
A large chunk of Parmesan, (80g) grated.
A little chopped rosemary, thyme or sage.
Salt and pepper.
Put the butter in a largish pot and place on medium heat, Cook the butter gently for 3-4 minutes without stirring, it will spit and fizzle along the way, but that's ok. When the butter starts to turn nutty brown, remove from the heat and throw in the herbs then set aside. When ready to serve, cook the gnocchi as per packet instructions but the simple rule is when they rise to the surface they are cooked.
When draining, lift the gnocchi out of the pot with a slotted spoon and place into the warm butter, this will ensure that a little of the cooking water is added to the butter to form an emulsion.
Season and divide onto warm plates with the lamb Ragu on top, sprinkle generously with the Parmesan and serve.
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