With more leftover lamb than we knew what to do with, the answer was pretty clear: a lamb ragu. And given my experience with the Locanda Verde lamb ragu, I was ready to roll up my sleeves and give this lamb the justice it deserved. I started slicing the lamb into small cubes and diced up a medium-sized yellow onion. Into a large, high-sided pan went the onion with some olive oil and cooked for several minutes. I then added in 3 cloves of chopped garlic and let it sweat for a few seconds before adding in the lamb. A quick toss of the ingredients and the smells coming from the kitchen could've killed someone. I then added in two heaping tablespoons of tomato paste to the hot pan and allowed that to cook for a minute or two. Then a healthy splash of red wine (I used some leftover Cab, about 3/4 cup) was poured in to deglaze the pan and bubbled away until gorgeously thick. 3 sprigs of rosemary were finely chopped and added along with 1 cup of water or so and an aggressive pinch of salt and a few red pepper flakes. I allowed that to come up to a roaring bubble and stirred occasionally until the liquid was mostly cooked out (about 10 minutes). It then becomes a game of adding water and cooking it out, adding water, then cooking it out: a process that yields the most concentrated, glistening, and silky results you've ever encountered.
After adding water and allowing it to reduce three or four times, I got a pot of water on for the pasta. While I would've loved to have gone pappardelle here, penne was what was available so penne it was. As soon as they were al dente, they were added to the pan of ragu along with half a cup (plus some) of the salty, starchy cooking water and tossed.
Then it was outside to the patio along with a glass of rosé to enjoy the sunshine and the fabulous fruits of my labor.
Had there been ricotta and fresh mint around, this would have most definitely been topped with both (to really stick it to Locanda Verde). But, we were without and this dish did not suffer in the least bit.