Napa Valley Grille
A seasoned chef and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide alum with more than 17 years of culinary experience, chef Taylor Boudreaux displays a straightforward approach with all his recipes, with an emphasis on local and seasonal. While always keeping in mind composition and the interplay of flavors on the plate, this hearty lamb ragù intertwines rustic flavors revamping a conventional dish with untraditional wild game.
Cut off the netting on the lamb and remove all the silver skin. Dice the lamb into ½-inch pieces. Leave some of the fat on the meat for some extra flavor. Any good butcher will do this for you upon request. Season the meat well with salt and fresh ground pepper. Dust with all-purpose flour until there is no more visible moisture.
Heat a large sauté pan and add ½ cup of the olive oil. Shake off excess flour and sear the lamb in small uncrowded batches. Remove when well caramelized on all sides and allow allow to drain its excess fat on a plate lined with a paper towel. Lamb should be visibly crispy, but not burnt.
When all the lamb is cooked, deglaze the pan with the red wine and let it reduce by half.
In a separate pot, sweat out the onions, celery, and carrots with 1 tablespoon of the oil for about 5 minutes until lightly caramelized. Add in the red wine reduction from the sauté pan and follow with the tomatoes, tomato juice, herbs, and the cooked lamb. Simmer, covered, on low heat for about an hour or until the lamb is tender. A good test is to take a piece and if you can "smush" it with the back of a spoon with very little force on the countertop it’s done.
Season the ragù with salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, add a little chicken stock. If it's too thin, reduce it a little more uncovered. Remove the bay leaves and set aside until ready to use.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pappardelle until al dente. In a separate sauté pan, heat up 2 cups of the ragù. Add the red pepper flakes and the butter. Stir until butter is emulsified into the sauce. Add the fresh chopped parsley, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce and grate fresh Parmesan on top.