Lamb Stew with Feta over Buttery Noodles

I think crock-pots get a bad rap.  I think maybe people think of them as a cop out, but just like any appliance, there is a time and place for a crock-pot. I might not advise you to prepare a dinner for your husband’s boss in a crock-pot. (Do people even have their bosses over for dinner anymore? I think that might have been a 1950s thing. Anyway, you get the point.) Crock-pots are perfect for week night dinners. Especially, for dinners on the nights where you would have gotten take out.  Crock-pots make really good food! And while they are known for being perfect for winter, they are actually perfect for summer too. Why? Because when you use a crock-pot you don’t have to turn on your oven! 

This stew is tasty. Pour it over hot buttery noodles.

Lamb Stew with Feta over Buttery Noodles:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 2 jars tomato sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 pound noodles, cooked

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add lamb. Cook until just brown. Add garlic, cinnamon, allspice, and vinegar.  Mix in with lamb using a wooden spatula. Remove from heat and pour contents of skillet into crock-pot. Add sweet potato, potato cubes, tomato sauce, and bay leaf. Cook on high for 5 hours.

Just prior to serving prepare noodles according to package directions. Top with butter. Serve stew over hot noodles. (Don’t forget to remove bay leaf!) Top with feta cheese.

Farfalle with My Favorite Color Sauce and Roasted Vegetables

If you can’t tell what color the sauce is from this picture, here are a few clues: 

As far back as I can remember my favorite color has been green.  There isn’t really an explanation except that looking at green makes me happy. One of my best memories from my wedding day is walking down the stairs in my parents’ home to a sea of green dresses worn by my bridesmaids! I don’t just like green, I love it.  Both consciously and subconsciously I choose to surround myself with green. As I was snapping photos of this meal, all of my green things sort of jumped out at me. I knew I had an affinity for the color, but, yikes! Even my three soap dispensers, napkins, place mats, measuring cups, and oven mitts are green!

As my mother-in-law put it, and I agree, this dish is very pretty. The smooth green sauce over a bed of farfalle (bow tie) pasta studded with (red) roasted tomatoes and (more green) asparagus makes for a lovely presentation. The flavor is great too. I created this recipe to be healthy and flavorful. It seems too often that pasta is smothered with thick cream and butter. That is not the case here. The sauce is a puree of peas, olive oil, fresh basil and some pungent parmesan, which makes for a delicate, smooth, and tasty sauce that is not rich with dairy. In fact, there is only one cup of cheese over the two pounds of pasta. 

Tips:

  • Using a different pasta shape than you would ordinarily use adds interest to a dish. Choosing new  pasta shapes is an easy way to spice up an old favorite. Check out these recipes: Papparadelle, Orecchiette, GemelliOrzo, Buccatini–they are all fun shapes to try! If the selection at your local grocer is sparse, stop in a specialty shop, like an Italian market. You are likely to find an array of new shapes and sizes.
  • Eliminate chicken and replace chicken broth with vegetable broth to convert this to a vegetarian recipe.

Farfalle with My Favorite Color Sauce:

  • 2 pounds farfalle (bow ties)
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 2 bunches green asparagus
  • 3 glugs of olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1-16 oz. bag frozen peas
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 chicken breasts (seasoned generously with salt and pepper, grilled, and cut into 1-inch pieces)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Fill a large pot with salted water and place on stove to boil.  When water is boiling add farfalle and cook according to package directions.

Slice grape tomatoes in half and place on baking sheet cut side down. Drizzle with a glug of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 12-14 minutes, or until just soft. Remove from oven and set aside. Leave oven on.

Cut off the tough ends of asparagus and throw away. Cut asparagus into 2-inch segments and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with a glug of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 13-15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Turn oven off.

In a large skillet or saucepan warm a glug of olive oil over low/medium heat.  Add minced shallots. Cook until shallots are soft. Add peas to pan and combine with shallots. Cook peas for just a minute–just until they are warm and slightly soft. Remove from heat.

In a blender or food processor combine pea/shallot mixture, 3/4 cup olive oil, 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, 3/4 cup chicken broth, basil leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Puree mixture until smooth.

In a large serving bowl, combine cooked pasta, roasted tomatoes, roasted asparagus, and chicken cubes. Pour sauce on top and gently toss to coat.

Peas with shallots

Roasted tomatoes, roasted asparagus, and grilled chicken waiting to be tossed with the green sauce

 

Delicious and pretty

A Kitchenbelle.com original.