Let’s talk about lamb today. Are you a fan? I know some people aren’t into the full-bodied, “gamey” flavor of it…but I ADORE it. I love its bold flavor – it can really hold its own in a dish packed with intensity.
This dish is one of those.
Not only are the meatballs themselves full of spice and richness, but the sauce is intensely rich and fabulously decadent. The peas and parsley do their part, too, by adding some freshness and balance. Everything is topped off with a fresh grating of Manchego cheese, one of my personal (yet underused) favs!
There is a lot going on here, and somehow, it all works. Cozy and bold. Seems like an odd pairing of characteristics…but this dish covers them both.
Now, if you AREN’T a fan of lamb, feel free to swap it for chicken or beef. The flavors should still shine through!
We received a BUNCH of snow yesterday (did anyone see that Eagles-Lions game? Ridiculously fun). This dish was absolutely perfect for curling up with in front of the fire as we admired our freshly decorated, ridiculously large Christmas tree (courtesy of my husband – he picked out the 12-footer all by himself. Hah. Lucky for him, it’s beautiful and squirrel-free). This dish was the perfect accompaniment!
Mmm, just looking at these pictures is making me want another bowl RIGHT NOW. Drool.
Fettuccine with Truffled Lamb Meatballs & Sherried Cream Sauce (makes 6 servings)
For the Meatballs:
1 large onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons white truffle oil
½ cup Manchego cheese, grated
1 cup of fresh bread crumbs
½ cup milk
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 lb ground lamb
Salt and pepper
For the Pasta:
1 lb fettuccine pasta
½ cup dry sherry (or vermouth)
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons caramelized onions (reserved from the meatballs)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup frozen peas
Drizzle of white truffle oil (or to taste)
½ cup Manchego cheese, grated
Fresh parsley, chopped
1. For the Meatballs: heat a large skillet over medium heat and add one tablespoon of oil. Add the onions and cook for 20 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until lightly brown and caramelized. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the fresh breadcrumbs and milk and allow to sit for a few minutes or until the milk is mostly absorbed. Mix in the caramelized onions (reserve about 2 tablespoons of the onions for the sauce), garlic, ketchup, parsley, smoked paprika, white truffle oil, Manchego cheese, eggs, and finally the Panko breadcrumbs. Mix well and then gently fold in the lamb meat, mixing to combine but not overworking the mixture.
3. Heat the same pan used for the onions over medium heat and add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Preheat the oven to 400°F and put a large pot of water on for the pasta.
4. Form the meat mixture into meatballs (I used a medium cookie scoop to help me get an even size) and pan sear, in batches, until golden brown on all sides. Move browned meatballs to a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil. Once all the meatballs are brown, place them in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.
5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until el dente. Drain off the oil used to sear the meatballs and then deglaze the pan with the dry sherry over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes, caramelized onions, and heavy cream and bring mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently.
6. Add in the truffle oil and peas during the last few minutes of cooking. Toss the sauce with the pasta, top with the meatballs, and then garnish with fresh parsley and the grated cheese. Serve immediately.