This unsual pasta recipe has at its roots a wonderful, rich egg-based fresh pasta base. While we have tagliatelle chosen as the perfect vehicle for this complex sauce, you can switch shapes to use whatever form you like best - it all works beautifully.
Look for a heavier cut of lamb, nothing too lean. The full, rounded flavors come into a complete bloom thanks to a longer marinating time (at least 2 hours, if you've got more time to marinate for it, go ahead!) and this meaty sensation plays off perfectly with the tang of the red onions traditionally grown in the Calabrian town of Tropea. Thankfully, these delicious summer onions are now available throughout the globe, so look for them in your own grocery shops and you might score a real treat.
While it might seem like a perfect recipe to add to your dinner table specifically around Easter time, thanks to the presence of lamb, this is actually a terrific option during slightly chillier months, as the warming nature of the sauce will heat you and your loved ones up. Anytime is a good time to explore regional Italian cooking, so head out of the classics and into the contemporary recipes with this lovely dish!
Marinate the lamb
Select a piece of lamb that isn't too lean, a shoulder piece is ideal.
Smash garlic and remove skin, set aside.
Slice lamb into thin, medium-length slices and place into bowl. Chop all herbs listed above to create a fresh bouquet of herbs, and add to sliced meat. Add whole garlic clove and cover blend with olive oil.
Marinate at room temperature for at least 2 hours.
Prepare the pasta dough
Sift flour and semolina, and in medium mixing bowl, create well in center. Add egg yolks to well, and using fork, pull flour into center with yolks. When eggs have been incorporated into flour, use your hands to begin kneading the dough.
Once you have reached firm, smooth, elastic consistency, dough is complete. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Prepare and caramelize the onion
Peel onion, and slice as finely as possible. Coat a small sauté pan with olive oil, and when hot, add sliced onion. Cook over a low flame, allowing onion to brown lightly. Add both sugar and a pinch of salt.
Once onions begin to caramelize, add white wine vinegar and continue cooking over low heat, allowing vinegar to evaporate. Remove from heat, and allow to cool.
Prepare the egg tagliatelle
Lightly flour working surface and spread the dough on the surface. With a rolling pin, start rolling out the dough from the center, until you reach the ideal thickness (the thinner the better!).
(If you prefer, and have a pasta machine, pass the dough through the pasta machine until you reach the desired thickness.)
Fold each sheet several times on itself (dusting each fold with flour or semolina so that they do not stick together) and cut it with a sharp knife into strips about 0.5cm wide. Unroll each strip, forming the pasta noodles.
Spread them on a tray sprinkled with flour to prevent them from sticking together. You can also create the noodles using a pasta machine, if available.
Prepare the lamb and Tropea onion sauce
Heat nonstick, heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat, and heat until very hot. Add marinated lamb with all of marinating liquids and herbs.
Add white wine, continue cooking until wine evaporates, adjust to taste with salt.
Cook the egg tagliatelle and finish dish
Bring large soup pot of salted water to boil. When fully boiling, add tagliatelle for at least 3 minutes (taste for desired cooking level), drain well. Add the cooked tagliatelle to pan with cooked lamb, and toss well to combine the flavors.
Add caramelized onions, and cherry tomatoes if using. If sauce appears too dry, you can add a few teaspoons of the pasta cooking water to add to the sauce.
Serve hot with a drizzle of high-quality olive oil on top, and a grating of Parmesan cheese.