Smoked Eggplant & Lamb Ragu 

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Smoked Eggplant & Lamb Ragu 

1 pound mafalda pasta (or pasta of your choice) 

¼ cup olive oil, divided 

1 medium eggplant, cut into ½-inch dice 

½ teaspoon dried chili flakes 

1 medium Spanish onion, finely diced 

1 large carrot, finely diced

2 celery stalks, finely diced 

4 garlic cloves 

2 tablespoons tomato paste 

1 ½ pounds ground lamb 

2 cups dry red wine 

4 cups passata 

Zest of 1 lemon 

½ cup parmesan cheese, grated on a microplane (plus more for serving)

¼ cup chopped mint leaves (plus more for garnish)

¼ cup chopped basil leaves (plus more for garnish) 

½ cup ricotta cheese 

Sea salt and cracked black pepper 

  1. When ready to cook, start the Traeger according to grill instructions. Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 – 15 minutes. 
  2. Toss the eggplant with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then season with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then arrange the eggplant in a single layer on the pan. Roast for about 25 – 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown. 
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large, oven-safe dutch oven (or stockpot) over medium-heat, and pour in the remaining olive oil. Add the chili flakes and cook for one minute, then stir in the onion, carrot, and celery, season with a pinch of sea salt, and cook until the veggies are softened, about 7 – 8 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the lamb and cook until just starting to brown, then pour in the wine, passata, add the lemon zest, and season with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Add the cooked eggplant, then stir the lot together. Bring to a simmer then immediately transfer to the already heated Traeger. 
  4. Cook on the grill, stirring every so often, until thickened and glorious (about 35 – 40 minutes). Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. 
  5. Stir in the grilled eggplant, parmesan, mint, and basil leaves. Toss with the pasta of your choice, portion onto serving plates, then top with ricotta cheese, more parmesan, and some fresh mint and basil leaves. Serve immediately. Delicious!

 

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