Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lamb Ragu over Cheese Ravioli - And Confessions of a Sappy Holiday Movie Watcher

Lamb Ragu over Cheese Ravioli

I WILL admit it!   Around the holidays, there are always great movies on TV.  Hallmark runs an entire series of classic TV Christmas movies.  And I love them! 

Only problem is, I cannot make it through one without crying!  Is it any wonder that I spend the entire holiday season a bit melancholy? 

I was watching "Holiday Magic" the other night -  without ruining it for you;  first you think she's dead, then she's not, and she ends up with the guy and the little girl knows she's an angel! 

Here come the tears...

The men who read this blog are now going,  "Yeah, okay.  I think 'Pale Rider' is on tonight."

It is, by the way... 

I digress -

This is a festive meal; perfect for watching one of those sappy holiday movies.   It's great for a cozy night in by the fireplace. 

It can be doubled or tripled very easily if you're serving family in from out of town.  If you are a college student or you're on a tight budget  - and who isn't these days?  -  you can make this meal for just a few bucks.

You don't need to purchase an $8.00 jar jar of pasta sauce either.  I used a 99 cent can of a well-known brand for this recipe and it came out great.  The sauce was "on special" at my local store.

My only real advice to you here is to not use a sherry "cooking wine."  Buy a sherry that you could drink, even if it's a lesser expensive brand that your grocery store carries.

I served the lamb ragu over cheese ravioli with a side of zucchini and squash.  It's also great over barley or brown rice.  

The ragu is made in a crock pot, so it also saves time, and hey -who couldn't use more of that?

I didn't write the weight in my recipe for the lamb shank.  

"Oh, why not, Mary Kay?" 

"Well, here's why" --  she says with great enthusiasm. 

The bone makes for part of weight.  Sometimes you get a big bone and just a little meat.  Look for a shank that seems to have a fair amount of meat on it.  Ask your butcher if you need advice on how many people each shank will feed.

This recipe serves 4:


1 tablespoon Grapeseed Oil
1 meaty Lamb Shank
Coarse Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste
2 Carrots, sliced
4 stalks of Celery, chopped
24 ounces of store-bought pasta sauce (Garlic and Onion flavor)
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
3  tablespoons Sherry wine
2 tablespoons 2% Milk
1/8 cup Grated Parmesan and Romano Cheese, plus extra for the table

Cooked  Cheese Ravioli
Chopped fresh Parsley

Preheat slow cooker on high.*

Heat heavy pan with oil added.  Salt and pepper lamb shank; press salt and pepper into the flesh of the meat.  Brown on all sides, about five minutes.

Add browned meat to warm slow cooker along with carrot and celery.  Add sauce, Italian seasoning, sherry wine and stir.  

Cover with lid and cook on high for four hours.  

Remove shank.  Pull meat from shank and return to slow cooker.  Stir in milk and cheese.

Serve over cooked ravioli.  

Top with more cheese and fresh parsley if desired.

I'll be taking some much deserved time off over the holiday weekend.   But I'll be back next week to share my holiday meal recipes with you.   These recipes will be perfect for New Year's Eve or for any special occasion.

Have a great holiday weekend.   See you soon!  

*For low heat, cook for 8 hours.
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