This version of bolognese is half lamb and half ground beef, a mixture you’ll see a lot in northern Italy, and because the lamb is lean, this is a somewhat lighter sauce than all-beef or pork-based ragu.
The sauce needs a good long simmer, but it makes enough that you’ll likely get two meals. Giada claims the pasta shouldn’t be swimming in sauce; you only want it to stain the pasta, but we are “saucy” people and like to pile on a fair amount.
One of the ingredients is Calabrian chili paste, but a good substitute is Sriracha, and that’s what we used.
1 can whole San Marzano tomatoes, (28 ounce) crushed by hand
1 bay leaf
1 piece parmesan rind, (3 inch)
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 lb. fusilli, cooked to package instructions; or polenta
Heat a medium dutch oven over medium heat. Add the butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil and warm until the butter is melted.
Add the onions, carrots, celery and a 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook stirring often for 6 minutes or until the vegetable are soft but have no color.
Add the lamb and beef and cook breaking apart the meat with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink.
Stir the garlic, chili paste, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste into the meat mixture. Cook the tomato paste stirring often for 2 minutes.
Add the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the milk is almost entirely evaporated.
Add the wine, tomatoes, bay leaf, parmesan rind and remaining salt. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low to just maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer the sauce for 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Use several folded paper towels to skim some of the oil from the surface.
Discard the bay leaf and parm rind.
Spoon the bolognese over fusilli or creamy polenta reserving any extra to serve on the side. Serve with additional parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
An Egyptian street food, hawawshi (pronounced ha-WOW-shi) is a riff on the hamburger, if you will. It is basically dough (or pita in this case) stuffed with a mixture of ground meat—lamb or beef—that is seasoned with tantalizing warm spices, onions, garlic, hot peppers and fresh herbs.
There are three components to making these hawawshi patty sandwiches: the seasonings, the meat mixture, and pita pockets—we used the multi-grain variety. This satisfying sandwich is typically served hot without much else to accompany it, although we both felt it needed a sauce of some sort, such as tahini or tzatziki, neither of which we had. Instead, we made a quick mixture of mayo and Sriracha and spread it in the pocket. And it’s never a bad idea to add a side salad…
Since the original recipe (shown below) made 12 sandwiches, we cut it in half, which also gave us a few leftover for lunches.
1 green bell pepper, cored and cut into large chunks
1 jalapeno, halved and seeded (leave some of the seed if you like heat)
½ oz. fresh parsley stems, trimmed
2 lbs. lean ground lamb or beef
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
Extra virgin olive oil
6 pita pockets
For the Hawawshi Seasoning (Spice Mixture)
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. cumin
¾ tsp. cardamom
¼ tsp. cinnamon
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small bowl, add the spices and mix to combine.
Put the onion, garlic, bell pepper, jalapeno, and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, pulse a few times until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a sieve to drain excess liquid (it helps to push with the back of a spoon).
Transfer the onion mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the ground beef and tomato paste. Mix to combine. Add the spice mixture and a dash of kosher salt. Mix again until the mixture is well combined and the spices are well distributed within the meat mixture.
Cut the pita loafs in halves to create 12 pita pockets.
Prepare a large sheet pan brushed with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.
Stuff each pita pocket with ⅓ cup of the meat mixture. Using the back of a spoon, spread the meat mixture inside the pita pockets.
Arrange the pitas in the prepared sheet pan. Brush the pita pocket tops with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.
Bake in the heated oven for 15, then carefully turn the pitas over and cook on the other side another 5 to 10 minutes until the meat is fully cooked and the pita is crispy on both sides.
“It’s easy to see why kafta bil sanieh, a casserole, if you will, of sliced potatoes, rounds of tomatoes and flavorful kafta (seasoned meatballs or meat patties), is Lebanese comfort food. The ingredients are shingled into a baking dish and baked until the flavors meld and the textures become deliciously succulent and tender.”
This Milk Street rendition, based on a recipe from “The Palestinian Table” by Reem Kassis, starts with a simple no-cook tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, where juices collect during baking and form a delicious sauce. To ensure the potatoes cook evenly and thoroughly, precook them by roasting them for about 10-15 minutes, enough time to begin making the kafta. If you are squeamish about lamb, use 80 percent lean ground beef instead. You can serve it with rice pilaf, but we did not.
I doubled the garlic, putting half of it in the meat mixture, the other half in the tomato sauce. To press the meat balls into 1/4″ thick discs, I used a flat-bottomed glass that was dipped into cool water between each smashing. Then I put the entire tray into the freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm up while the potatoes cooled. This made it easier for assembly.
Speaking of assembly, it helps to start with uniform sizes for the potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. In the end, there was not enough ingredients to make 3 full rows from front to back in the baking dish, but any left over slices of veggies were just positioned in the back. Unable to buy a small can of crushed tomatoes, we chose whole peeled tomatoes and crushed them with an immersion blender.
1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, not peeled, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
2 Tbsp. plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 lb. ground lamb or 80 percent lean ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, halved and grated on the large holes of a box grater
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
14 ½ oz. can crushed tomatoes
4 medium garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 lb. plum tomatoes, cored and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
2 small green bell peppers or Anaheim chili, stemmed, seeded and sliced into thin rings
Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position.
On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Distribute in a single layer and roast without stirring just until a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance, 10 to 13 minutes (ours took 16 min). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly. Leave the oven on.
While the potatoes cook, line a second baking sheet with kitchen parchment. In a medium bowl, combine the lamb, onion, half the minced garlic, parsley, allspice, cinnamon, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Using your hands, mix gently until just combined; do not over-mix.
Divide the mixture into about 20 golf ball-size portions (1½ to 1¾ inches in diameter) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten each ball into a patty about 2½ inches wide and ¼ inch thick (it’s fine the patties are not perfectly round); set aside until ready to assemble.
In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, combine the crushed tomatoes, garlic, the ¼ cup oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir well, then distribute in an even layer.
Shingle the potatoes, tomato slices, green pepper rings and meat patties in 3 or 4 rows down the length of the baking dish, alternating the ingredients. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with pepper.
Bake, uncovered, until the kafta and potatoes are browned and the juices are bubbling, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
Harissa is a North African spice paste whichis used as the flavor base for this simple skillet-cooked meat sauce, as well as to season the couscous that’s served alongside. Scallions play a dual role in this dish—the whites are caramelized to lend depth of flavor to the sauce and the greens are sprinkled on as a garnish.
Dates (or golden raisins) lend sweetness that play off the spicy, savory notes. Neither of us are huge fans of raisins/dates in our savory dishes, so we only incorporated one ounce of golden raisins and to us, it was the perfect amount of sweetness.
While the directions were followed as written, the next time we prepare this dish, we’ll brown the meat in the skillet first, remove it to a dish, wipe out the grease, and then cook the scallions as directed, adding back the cooked lamb afterwards. The original way leaves all of the fat in the pan.
The chopped pistachios, lemon wedge and cilantro all added welcome pops of flavor as garnishes.
In a large bowl, stir together the couscous, ¾ teaspoon salt and 1½ tablespoons each oil and harissa. Stir in the boiling water; cover and let stand while you prepare the beef.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook the remaining 1½ tablespoons oil, the scallion whites and cumin, stirring, until the scallions brown.
Add the lamb (or beef), the remaining 1½ tablespoons harissa, the dates, ¾ cup water and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Simmer and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally while breaking up the meat, until the mixture is saucy.
Stir in the scallion greens and season with salt and pepper. Serve over the couscous.