Monday, October 13, 2008

Pasta with Lamb, Eggplant and Yogurt Sauce

We spent our honeymoon in Turkey and Greece which may be while just about any meal with lamb, yogurt and dill makes us swoon. Which brings me to another great recipe from the New York Times Dining Section: Pasta with Turkish-Style Lamb, Eggplant and Yogurt Sauce. I tweaked/lightened this recipe enough that I'm going to print my adaptation below, but you can check out the original through the link above.

A warning to city dwellers with small kitchens: this recipe takes a lot of pots and space. You will need your oven, three burners, and a colander in the sink. Good way to practice your multi-tasking!

Pasta with Turkish-Style Lamb, Eggplant and Yogurt Sauce

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

5-7 tablespoons olive oil (extra-virgin, or non)

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

3 fat garlic cloves, minced (bottled minced garlic is fine)

1 large shallot, minced

1 pound ground lamb

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper, more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped dill, more to taste

1/2 pound bowtie or orecchiette pasta

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, to taste

2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt. (I used non-fat Fage)

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Bring a pot of water to boil for pasta.

2. In a medium sized bowl, toss eggplant with 4-6 tablespoons oil (to lightly coat all pieces) 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. If there is an excess of fat, use a baster to remove from pan. Stir in 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. Cook on low until it turns golden brown and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn. In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, remaining garlic and a pinch of salt.

5. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Mix with lamb-eggplant mixture, then add yogurt sauce. Pour melted butter over top. Sprinkle on additional red pepper and dill to taste. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 large servings.

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