Braised Lamb with Cencioni Pasta and Broccoli Rabe

"This signature dish has been on the menu several years now," says Mimi Wood, executive chef of The Washington Inn in Cape May. "The dish reworks a braised beef and rigatoni that I had done at home. I wanted something more special for the restaurant, so I used lamb and cencioni. It is important when braising any meats to cook them 'low and slow' to ensure the meat is fork tender and juicy."

Braised Lamb with Cencioni Pasta and Broccoli Rabe


For the lamb braise
1 pound diced lamb shoulder
1 cup mirepoix (celery, onion, carrots, fine diced)
4 or 5 whole cloves garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup white wine
chicken stock to cover
sachet of herbs (thyme, bay leaf, peppercorn, parsley stems, rosemary)
1 tablespoon brown sugar


1) Brown lamb in olive oil.
2) Add mirepoix and whole cloves of garlic. Cook until veggies are soft.
3) Add the tomato paste and cook to slightly caramelize.
4) Add wine and cook for a few minutes to cook off alcohol.
5) Add chicken stock to cover, sachet and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer then cover tightly and put in a very slow oven 250- 275 degrees.
6) Cook until very tender, 2- 3 hours. Let cool, then skim fat.

7) Cook 8 ounces of Cencioni (little rags) pasta al dente.
8) Blanch 1 cup broccoli rabe.
9) Set both aside.

10) In a saute pan heat 1 teaspoon chopped garlic with a good pinch of red pepper flakes.
11) Add braised lamb (and a little chicken stock if it is too dry)
12) Add the pasta and broccoli rabe and heat through.
13) Add 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese and a good drizzle of Olio Verde.


Cencioni and Olio Verde are available through Manicaretti Co.

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