One of the Italian restaurants that my husband and I love is A Tavola in Darlinghurst. The restaurant serves fantastic Italian fare and is famous for their handmade pasta and the beautiful sauces that go with it. When I learned that the CIRA cooking school was having Eugenio Maiale, who is chef and owner of A Tavola to teach “The Art and Sculpture of Pasta”, I knew couldn’t miss it. Pasta is something I’ve made before, but my husband has always wanted to learn and who better to teach than the chef of our one of our favourite restaurants? So for over three hours on Saturday morning we learned from Chef Eugenio and his team a basic pasta recipe and how to shape them into pappardelle, farfalle, capelletti, mezzalune and tortellini to name a few. It was such a treat to watch him and his team talk about pasta with so much passion.
One of the unforgettable dishes we made that day was Maccheroni alla chittara con ragu d’agnello e peperoni. This was a typical dish from Abruzzo, where Eugenio’s family came from. The “chittara” is a special rectangular wooden board with wire strings attached to it. The sheets of dough are placed on the board and then a pressed through the strings with a rolling pin to create strands of pasta. The ragu, made with lamb and capsicums, is simply out of this world. My husband loved it so much that he went up to Eugenio to ask for seconds. And, as if two bowls wasn’t enough, tonight we made the ragu again using the freshly made rigatoni that the chefs at A Tavola gave us to take home!
So here is Eugenio’s recipe. If you’d like to learn more from Eugenio, you can check out his videos here.
Ragu of Lamb and Capsicums
From Eugenio Maiale, A Tavola
- 500 grams lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and sinew, cut into 2.5 cm pieces
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- pinch pepper
- 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 250 ml dry white wine
- 100 ml chicken stock
- 400 grams canned Italian tomatoes, diced
- 1 red capsicum, cut into long thin strips
- 1 yellow capsicum, cut into long thin strips
- 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
- 400 grams dried pasta (i.e. penne) or 2 quantities of this fresh pasta recipe
- Toss the lamb in a bowl with the salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
- Heat a large frying pan over high heat, add oil, when hot add the lamb. Brown the lamb all over, this will take around 5 to 7 minutes. Make sure to stir often. Add the garlic and the bay leaves and cook for another minute.
- Add the wine and stir well to remove any bits at the bottom of the pan.
- Once the wine has evaporated, add the tomatoes and the stock.
- Allow the sauce to simmer around 30 minutes, then add the capsicums. Allow the ragu to simmer for another 1 to 1 and a half hours, until soft.
- To serve, cook the pasta, add the sauce and top with the cheese and chopped parsley.