Moroccan Lamb in Spaghettini Nest

Her World Best Home Cook 2017 winning recipe!

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients

For the homemade ras el hanout spice blend (can be made up to 2 weeks in advance):

2 tsp coriander seeds

2 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp cardamom seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

½ tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp smoked paprika

¼ tsp sea salt

For the lamb filling:

450g minced Australian lamb

1 large white onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, sliced into thin strips

1 small carrot, peeled and diced

1 medium red ripe tomato, diced

3 heaped tsp homemade ras el hanout spice blend

1 tsp roasted sesame seeds, finely ground

1 jar Alce Nero Organic Pasta Sauce Napoletana

10-12 pitted black olives, sliced

8 dried apricots (preferably organic), diced

1 cup fresh mint leaves, tightly packed and chopped (set some whole leaves aside for garnish)

½ cup fresh coriander leaves, tightly packed and chopped

Salt and sugar, to taste

For the spaghettini nest:

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil

250g Alce Nero Organic Spaghetinni

1 cup cream cheese

2 small eggs, lightly beaten

Black pepper, freshly ground

For the topping:

¾ cup grated Mozzarella cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

4-5 tbsp Alce Nero Organic Tomato Sauce with Chilli

For the pomegranate mint salad:

1½ tbsp honey (floral type)

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 pinch sea salt

1 large pomegranate, pink seeds extracted

2 cups mint leaves, loosely packed

Some edible flowers

Method

To make the homemade ras el hanout spice blend:

  1. Toast all seeds and peppercorns in a 100 °C oven for about 10 minutes, till fragrant. Cool slightly, transfer to a spice mill and grind to a fine powder. Stir in remaining ground spices, paprika and salt. Store in an air-tight container.

To make the lamb filling:

  1. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Fry lamb till browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer cooked lamb to a plate. Drain off excess fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons of fat in the pan.
  2. In the same pan, sauté onions over medium heat till just transparent. Add garlic, sauté briefly. Add carrot and tomato, sauté till carrots are soft and mixture is moist.
  3. Add cooked lamb, ras el hanout and ground sesame. Stir to combine. Add Alce Nero Napoletana Sauce and bring to a simmer. Add olives, apricots, mint and coriander. Stir to combine. Add a splash of water if the filling is too thick. Season with salt and sugar if necessary. Set aside.

To make the spaghettini nest:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Add salt, oil and Alce Nero Spaghetinni. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain well and transfer to a mixing bowl.
  2. While pasta is still hot, add cream cheese and combine. Add eggs and black pepper; combine till the mixture is uniform.
  3. Spray a 6-cup texas muffin pan (or 6 large ramekin moulds) with non-stick cooking spray. Cut 12 strips of baking paper, each measuring 2cm wide by 15cm long. Line each mould cavity with 2 strips in a cross pattern; this will help in the unmoulding of the nests after baking.
  4. Line the base and sides of each prepared mould with the pasta mixture, pressing against the sides with a spoon to form a firm nest.

To assemble:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C (fan).
  2. Fill each nest with about 3 tablespoons of lamb filling, forming a mound. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes
  3. Remove from oven and top each mound with some cheese mixture. Reserve some cheese for garnishing.
  4. Spoon some Alce Nero Organic Tomato Sauce with Chilli over. Bake for another 10 minutes till cheese is bubbly and melted.
  5. Remove from oven and stand for 5 minutes. Loosen the sides of each nest with a spatula and gently unmould by lifting the baking paper strips. Transfer the nest to a serving plate. Garnish with mint and cheese. Serve with pomegranate, mint, and flower salad.

To make the salad:

  1. For the dressing, combine honey, vinegar, oil, and salt in a jam jar. Close tightly and shake well to form an emulsion.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a salad bowl. Drizzle dressing over and toss gently.