Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
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
To make the homemade ras el hanout spice blend:
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- While pasta is still hot, add cream cheese and combine. Add eggs and black pepper; combine till the mixture is uniform.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 190°C (fan).
- Fill each nest with about 3 tablespoons of lamb filling, forming a mound. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes
- Remove from oven and top each mound with some cheese mixture. Reserve some cheese for garnishing.
- Spoon some Alce Nero Organic Tomato Sauce with Chilli over. Bake for another 10 minutes till cheese is bubbly and melted.
- 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:
- For the dressing, combine honey, vinegar, oil, and salt in a jam jar. Close tightly and shake well to form an emulsion.
- Combine remaining ingredients in a salad bowl. Drizzle dressing over and toss gently.