As a child, there was only ever one pasta dish mum made at home. It was called macaroni because the pasta she used was Gomiti Lisci which is the preferred pasta for the actual mac n cheese. Except mum’s version was cooked with a tomato base and was heavily spiced to suit the Indian palette. And I loved it. There was nothing like hot, piping macaroni pasta on chilly winter mornings (yes, we even had it for breakfast sometimes!), with lots of gooey cheesy mozzarella on top. My brother and I loved to stretch the cheese out between our teeth and the fork, to see who could get the longest strand going.
It was only when I moved to Sydney and started experimenting with pasta that I realised that there is half an aisle, at the local supermarket, dedicated to pasta varieties. The other half is pasta sauces! It was mind boggling. So much choice! Where do you start? Well I managed to make a start but the end is nowhere near.
This recipe called for cut up lasagne sheets but I saw it as my chance to try wholemeal organic fettucine pasta instead. Subtly flavoured with honey glazed lamb chops, this dish worked beautifully.
The ingredients made for fresh flavours, and the sticky lamb chops were a delight. The recipe was a bit too bland for me so as usual I topped off both the lamb and the pasta with my ever-trusted red chilli flakes. The result was pretty good but nothing sensational. It was, however, pretty easy and quick to make!
Time – 5/5
Taste – 3/5
8 large lamb chops, trimmed of fat
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tbsp runny honey
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, plus extra to serve
4 spring onions
2 bunches of asparagus (600g)
1 fresh red chili
300g ripe cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of fresh mint
1 small bulb of garlic
300g fresh lasagne sheets
30g Parmesan cheese
Toss the lamb chops with a pinch of salt and put into the frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, turning regularly until golden (around 8 minutes). Trim and finely slice the spring onions, asparagus (leaving the tips whole) and chili, and halve the cherry tomatoes. Scrape the veg into the casserole pan with 2 tablespoons of oil.
Roughly chop most of the top leafy half of the mint and add to the veg with a pinch of salt and pepper, then squash in 3 cloves of unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher. Bash the remaining unpeeled garlic cloves and add to the lamb with the rosemary leaves. Cut the lasagne sheets into 2cm-thick stripes, scatter them over the veg, then cover with 500ml of boiling water and mix together.
Reduce the heat under the lamb to low and toss with the honey and balsamic to glaze, then remove to a plate to rest. Finely grate the Parmesan over the lasagnetti and turn the heat off. Serve with the lamb, adding an extra drizzle of balsamic and sprinkling over the remaining mint.