lamb-pasta

FOODIE: Turkish (Style) Delight

I’m back on a full-fledged cooking spree. I can’t help but clip recipes from every single publication I can get my hands on. I think it has to do with my birthday having recently passed, which always makes me want to get my friends together to eat and drink. This year I was working on my birthday, August 27 so I had a birthday redux on September 27 (I’m an honorary Libra this year!) and had 15 people over for a Chesapeake style crab feast (sidenote—I was so full!, -JBaker). I‘ve already given you guys my Maryland-style seafood recipes for crabs and sides, but I say that to say, I‘m on a cooking binge!

Until this Saturday, I‘d been carrying around this recipe I saw in the New York Times for pasta with Turkish-Style Lamb, Eggplant and Yogurt. It is the author‘s take on deconstructing a very labor-intensive Turkish lamb dumpling. I don’t know why this recipe was burning a hole in my pocket but it was all I could think about. I am definitely a fan of Mediterranean flavors, pasta and melted butter poured on top of anything. So I guess that‘s why this was THE dish for me last week.

I asked my friend Abbie to come over for dinner Saturday night, and she gamely agreed to be my audience for this recipe demo. In preparation, I headed to the Pathmark in Brooklyn’s Atlantic Center. This is usually not as bad an experience as everyone in the neighborhood claims it is – except for this past Saturday. After spending 1 hour and 15 minutes in the express checkout line, haranguing the store manager and playing traffic coordinator for the hapless checkout girl, I was finally in my tiny little kitchen (see photo) to try out the recipe of my burning desire.
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I realized in the supermarket while perusing eggplants that looked more like giant raisins, that maybe I’m not such a big fan, so I subbed 2 red peppers cut in 1-inch cubes roasted at 400 degrees for 15 minutes for the eggplant. And instead of the orichiette or bowtie pasta, I used cavatelle. It‘s a really charming shape with the feel of a curled up egg noodle. Very comforting.
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The final result was delicious (see above photo), a great comfort food dish but with spicy lamb and tangy yogurt, so it didn’t induce a food coma. I’d definitely recommend this recipe though I made so many substitutions to the recipe that I’ll post it here as I made it. If you want the original, check the link above. Cheers!

-Nichelle

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Pasta With Turkish-Style Lamb, Eggplant Roasted Peppers and Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant, about 1 pound, in 1/2 -inch cubes

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, more to taste

3 fat garlic cloves, minced

1 large shallot, minced

1 pound ground lamb

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I didn‘t find Turkish or Aleppo, and I wasn‘t afraid of 1Ž4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes burning my house down)

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or dill, more to taste

1/2 pound cavatelle pasta

2 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, to taste

2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt.

Prep:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a pot of water to boil for pasta.

2. Toss red peppers with 4 tablespoons oil and a large pinch of salt. Spread
on a baking sheet, making sure there is room between pieces, and roast until
crisp and brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. In a large skillet, heat remaining tablespoon oil. Add 2 minced garlic
cloves and the shallot and sauté until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add lamb,
1/2 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper to taste. Sauté until
lamb is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in mint or dill and cook for
another 2 minutes. Stir eggplant into lamb. Taste and adjust seasonings.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small
saucepan, melt butter: the amount is to your taste. Let cook until it turns
golden brown and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, stir
together yogurt, remaining garlic and a pinch of salt.

5. Drain pasta and spread on a serving platter. Top with lamb-eggplant
mixture, then with yogurt sauce. Pour melted butter over top. Sprinkle on
additional red pepper and more mint or dill. Serve immediately.

Yield: 2 to 3 servings.

Note: Turkish or Aleppo (Syrian) red pepper flakes are sold at specialty
markets and at kalustyans.com. You may also substitute ground chili powder.
Do not use crushed red pepper flakes; they will be too hot for this dish.

Tell us how yours turned out!

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Like Foodie? Check out the rest of Parlour’s recipes from both J’alla and Nichelle here.

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