Ragu d’Agnella

Serves 4

This sauce from the farmlands of Abruzzo combines lamb and saffron with wine. The result is a fragrant, complex dish, which is also usually served over maccheroni alla chitarra, also known as tonnarelli.

  • 2 cups dry rosé
  • Large pinch saffron
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless leg of lamb, cubed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig each rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Small bunch basil, torn
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine wine and saffron and set aside. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add lamb, and cook about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add onion, garlic, and herbs and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add 1 cup wine and cook 10–15 minutes, or until absorbed. Add remaining wine, bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 2 hours or until tender. Add tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Season to taste, and top with chopped basil.