Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

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abruzzo-1

Abruzzi is located in the mountains along the Adriatic region of Italy and the cuisine is known for simple but hearty meals. A typical meal prepared in Abruzzi will feature diavolicchio, a combination of olive oil, tomatoes and chili peppers. Chili peppers are used often to spice up recipes, typical for much of Southern Italy. Rosemary, garlic and wine are also used extensively in Abruzzi cooking. Despite being more expensive per gram than truffles or caviar, saffron is used in many recipes and most of Italy’s saffron is produced in Abruzzi.

abruzzi

Abruzz’si cuisine is famous for artichokes and cardoons, legumes and potatoes and they are often enjoyed in soups. Cacio e Uova is a soup made from vegetables and salt pork and sometimes lamb, in a chicken base that relies on grated pecorino and eggs for a thick, creamy texture. Zuppa di cardi combines cardoons, relatives of the artichoke, with tomatoes and salt pork. The tiny mountain lentils are cooked with fresh chestnuts, pork and tomatoes with herbs to make zuppla di lenticchie. The traditional Christmas lunch begins with chicken broth, cardoons, tiny lamb meatballs and raw egg scrambled into the broth or fried chopped organ meats added to the soup just prior to serving.

Atessa-Abruzzo-Italy

Abruzzi recipes feature fresh seafood from the Adriatic, such as, Brodetto, a peppered seafood soup. Port cities also prepare fresh fish in a salty vinegar based dressing. Octopus is cooked in tomatoes and hot peppers and called “polpi in purgatorio”. Garlic, peppers and rosemary are used to season an anchovy and monkfish dish, called coda di rospo alla cacciatora. Fish and crayfish also come from inland freshwater ways.

The countryside of Abruzzi is dotted with herds of sheep and goats, making the preferred meats, lamb and kid. These meats are simmered slowly in sauces to serve over platters of polenta or pasta and served family style. Large pieces of spit roasted lamb are frequently eaten in Abruzzi, especially on special occasions. Another lamb dish of the region, agnello alle olive, is slowly cooked in a sealed clay casserole dish along with olives, lemons, hot peppers and oregano.

ab0bzxo1_1280

While beef is not as popular as in other areas of Italy, many households have their own herds of free ranging pigs. This yields meat for curing. Mortadellina, ventricina and salsicce di fegato pazzo are locally made table ready sausages that are enjoyed with bread. Abruzzi recipes such as ‘Ndocca ‘ndocca make use of the ribs and other parts of the pig that might otherwise be wasted, such as skin, ears and feet. This stew is flavored with vinegar, rosemary, bay leaf and peppers. Pork sausage is also enjoyed baked into the savory pizza rustica along with cheese and eggs.

guitar pasta

Abruzzi cuisine begins many meals with a pasta course. Maccheroni alla chitarra, or guitar pasta, is a classic Abruzzi dish. This egg dough is cut into the classic quadrangular shape with an instrument resembling an acoustic guitar. This is traditionally served with a lamb and tomato sauce seasoned with tomatoes, hot peppers, garlic and bay leaves. Lasagne Abruzzese layers sheets of pasta with spicy meat and tomato sauce.

Abruzzi cooking often calls for a crepe called scrippelle. These crepes are filled with flavorful ingredients and then used in other dishes. With scrippelle ‘mbusse, the crepes are served in chicken stock with grated pecorino cheese. In timballo di crespe, the crepes are placed in elegant molds with vegetables, cheese and meat and baked.

Spaghetti with Garlic, Olive Oil and Hot Pepper

spaghetti with oil

Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino is a traditional recipe from the Abruzzi region of Italy.

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 14 oz (400 grams) spaghetti
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 peperoncino ( hot peppers)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt

Directions

Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water.
A few minutes before draining the pasta, heat 1/4 cup of oil, add the garlic and the peperoncino and cook slowly until the garlic turns golden. Add the sauce to the drained spaghetti, toss well and serve immediately.

Chicken and Peppers Abruzzi-Style

Chicken-cacciatore

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 lb chicken; cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh hot chili peppers; chopped
  • 4 whole cloves garlic; peeled
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary leaves; chopped
  • Salt
  • 24 cherry tomatoes
  • 12 small black olives

Directions

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a deep ovenproof skillet with a lid that is large enough to contain all the chicken pieces in one layer without crowding, add oil, garlic and rosemary to the pan – turn the heat to high. Add the chicken and arrange the pieces with the skin side facing down in one layer. When well browned, turn the pieces and brown on the other side. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and chili peppers and transfer the chicken to a large plate, skin side up.

Add the onion and the bell peppers to the skillet and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the olives and cherry tomatoes and, once the tomatoes are hot, pour in the wine and simmer over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up. Cover the pan and braise in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer dish to a large warm platter and serve at once with crusty Italian bread.

Timballo di Patate

potatoes

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds potatoes 
  • 1 pound shredded mozzarella
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Pecorino or Parmigiano cheese
  • Chopped parsley 
  • Salt, pepper to taste

Directions

Cook potatoes whole, in water, peel them. Mash potatoes mixing in mozzarella, eggs, grated cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper to taste.
Place mixture in a 12x9x2 inch (or 9 inch round) pan, of which the inside surfaces have been oiled (or buttered) and sprinkled with flour to prevent sticking. Heat at 425 degrees F. in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until the top begins to brown. Serves 12.

Easter Ricotta Tarts with Saffron

soffioni

During Easter time the Abruzzi people celebrate the holiday with traditional sweets called soffioni or “big puffs”. The name refers to the look these mini tarts get while baking. Their filling is made with fresh ricotta and flavored with citrus zest and saffron. The expensive spice is a local ingredient from the fields around the small town of Navelli. It takes the inner part of 150 flowers (called crocus) to yield 1 gram of dry saffron and the brief harvest occurs once a year, when the flowers bloom around mid October.

12 pastries

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus some extra for the work surface
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium eggs plus 1 egg yolk

For the filling:

  • 1 pinch of saffron threads
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of sheep’s milk ricotta or cow’s milk ricotta, well-drained
  • Zest of 1 small lemon, finely grated
  • Vegetable oil or butter for coating
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Prepare the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, olive oil, eggs plus the egg yolk and salt. Work the dough just until it comes together in a smooth and firm ball. Wrap it with plastic and let rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature while making the filling.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare the filling:

If you have an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, use it to make the filling. Remember to clean the bowl and the beater before beating the egg whites.

In a small bowl, crush the saffron threads with the back of a teaspoon.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat the yolks in an electric mixer with the sugar until light and pale colored. Add the saffron, ricotta and lemon zest. Continue to beat until the mixture is fluffy. Set aside.

In another bowl or in a clean electric mixer bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until light and fluffy. Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk and ricotta mixture.

Take the dough out of the wrap and roll it on a lightly floured surface into a square, about 1/8 inch thick. Using a fluted pastry cutter (or a knife), slightly trim the edges and then cut the pastry evenly into 12 squares.

Coat a 12 cup muffin baking pan with vegetable oil or butter and lightly dust with flour. Press the pastry squares into the muffin cups, making sure to leave the four corners hanging over the edges. With a spoon divide the ricotta filling among the 12 pastry cups without overfilling and then fold the corners over the center of the filling. They should not seal but remain partially separated from each other.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 320 degrees F and continue baking for another 15 minutes until the tarts are golden.

Let cool at room temperature and then carefully remove the tarts from the muffin pan. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

 

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Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean, characterized by a jagged and rocky coastline, interspersed with stunning beaches of very fine sand. The past fifty years have seen Sardinia become a hotspot for tourism, with La Costa Smeralda in the northern area becoming a favorite retreat of Italian celebrities. The Sardinian coast may be dedicated to tourism, but the interior belongs to native Sardinians who still hold onto their customs, food and unique language (a form of classical Latin that is considered an official language). Sardinia is one of the most ancient lands in Europe, visited by man in the Palaeolithic period but inhabited permanently much later in the Neolithic age, around 6000 B.C.  Around 1000 B.C. the Phoenicians began to land on the shores of Sardinia with increasing frequency. Sailing from Lebanon while on trade routes to as far away as Britain, they needed safe anchorage for the night or a retreat from storms. These safe ports of call later became important markets and, after a time, they developed into real towns inhabited by Phoenician families and Nuragic families. As time passed, the Sardinians became united in language and customs yet remained divided politically into various smaller tribal states. Sometimes they banded together, while at other times, they were at war with one another. Tribes lived in villages made up of round thatched stone huts.

A typical Nuraghe dwelling

In 509 B.C.the Phoenician expansion inland becoming ever more menacing and penetrating, so native Sardinians attacked the coastal cities held by the enemy who, in order to defend themselves, called upon Carthage for help. The Carthaginians, after a number of military campaigns, overcame the Sardinians and conquered the region. For 271 years, the Carthaginian civilization flourished alongside the local Nuragic culture. In 238 B.C. the Carthaginians, defeated by the Romans in the first Punic War, surrendered Sardinia and it became a province of Rome. The Roman domination in Sardinia lasted 694 long years and was often opposed by the Sardinians. The departure of the Romans and the ensuing chaos left Sardinia at the mercy of Vandal raiders, Byzantine occupiers and Arab corsairs. Four giudicati (kingdoms) emerged in the Middle Ages but, by the 13th century, the Pisans and Genoese were battling for control of Sardinia. They were eventually taken over in 1323 by the Catalano-Aragonese from northern Spain who stayed for some 50 years. Eleonora d’Arborea (1340–1404) battled against them heroically and remains revered as Sardinia’s very own “Joan of Arc”. Sardinia became a Spanish territory after the unification of the Spanish kingdoms in 1479 and, still today, there is a Hispanic feel to several towns in the region. In the ensuing centuries, Sardinia suffered as Spain’s power crumbled and, in 1720, the Italian Savoy kingdom took possession of the island. After Italian unity in 1861, Sardinia found itself again under the rule of Rome.

Places to Visit in Sardinia

Cagliari is the main harbor and one of the gateways to Sardinia. Cagliari is situated among salt marshes and fish-rich ponds at the center of the broad southern gulf that extends from Cape Spartivento to Cape Carbonara. The French author Auguste Bouillier, who visited it in 1864, wrote movingly of the view, with “cupolas glittering in the setting sun”, the “castle with its belt of grey walls” and the “spectral towers”.  Dotted with Pisan towers and a Spanish castle, Cagliari has other Spanish touches, such as its flower-lined patios decorated with ceramics, not unlike Portugal’s famed azulejos. Travelers interested in Sardinia’s mysterious past should visit the Museo Nazionale Archeologico, which houses an unequaled collection of ancient Sardinian, Phoenician, Minoan and Roman artifacts. 

La Costa Smeralda or “the Emerald Coast” is a new feature of Sardinia, created nearly forty years ago to transform a formerly wild and isolated coast into a world-class tourist destination. La Costa Smeralda occupies the northeast corner of Sardinia from Olbia to Santa Teresa Gallura and follows the dramatic coastline of inlets and gulfs. Besides the fashionable resorts with its trendy beaches and yachts, La Costa Smeralda also has unbelievable natural beauty, with some of the clearest waters in the entire Mediterranean. Away from the coast, the road travels into the ancient lands of the Nuraghi, with ruins of their distinctive structures as well as even older prehistoric dolmens known as the Tomb of the Giants.

 Sardinia: attractions

Alghero was once a bastion of the Spanish Viceroy and even today is nicknamed “Barcelonetta” (little Barcelona) because of a dialect of Catalan that is still spoken. At the bottom of Via Umberto stands the sixteenth-century Cattedrale, where Spanish viceroys stopped to take a preliminary oath before taking office in Cagliari. A walk around the old town should take in the series of seven defensive towers which dominate Alghero’s center and its surrounding walls. Outside the old quarter, most of the tourist activity takes place around the port, its wide quay nudged by rows of colorful fishing boats and bordered by bars. Short trips outside Alghero lead to the impressive ruins of the Palmavera Nurag, as well, the excellent beaches at Porto Conte.

The Foods of Sardinia

Typical Sardinian cooking makes use of all kinds of beans: fava, white beans, lupine, chickpeas, and lentils. Parsley, leeks, and especially cabbage were grown and used in soups and minestrone. Onions, chicory, spinach, and beets were also commonplace on the Sardinian table. The most common fruit was citron. A pasta favorite is called fregola and was probably inspired by the Arab couscous.

Fregola

Originally, Sardinian bread was made of hard wheat and barley. Today there are a variety of traditional breads, some made with white flour, others with semolina (hard wheat), breads with bran or sprouts or bread as flat as a sheet of music called Carta di Musica in Italian or Pani Carasau in Sardinian. In Sardinian cities, public ovens were used to bake traditional breads and dishes such as panade, a rustic torta, made of bread dough stuffed with small pieces of stewed lamb or eel seasoned with vegetables. Today, panade is still a popular dish. Sardinia is a major exporter of cheese and the main exports are cavallo cheese (a type of caciocavallo) and salso cheese (a salted sheep’s cheese like pecorino cheese). Locally, fresh white cheeses are made for seasoning soups and casu e’ filixu, another fresh cheese, is layered with fern leaves in the center and often served on Carta di Musica. Cheese is used abundantly in Sardinian cuisine: in soups, stews, small ravioli and in famous desserts, such as, sebádas, a semolina, egg and cheese fritter flavored with sugar, lemon and honey or the pardule, baked buns of semolina stuffed with saffron and orange zest flavored fresh ricotta cheese.

Sardinia

The traditional cuisine of Sardinia was in some ways a contradiction: an island civilization that did not utilize seafood in its diet. Since Sardinia’s coast has always been victim to invasion, the Sardinian people found refuge in the mountains. Therefore, the traditional foods of Sardinia were always more influenced by the land than the sea. Today, much has changed and now seafood has been embraced by Sardinians, no longer having to fear invaders or pirates. Spicy fish soups called Burrida and Cassola, along with lobsters, crabs, anchovies, squid, clams and fresh sardines with Sardinians. Favorite Sardinian pasta dishes include: Spaghetti con Bottarga made with dried gray mullet roe shaved on top, Malloreddus is a gnocchi style pasta flavored with saffron and served with a tomato sauce. Culingiones are round ravioli stuffed with spinach and cheese. The Sardinian interior produces some of the best lamb in all of Italy and it is known for being very lean. Sardinians enjoy their meats roasted and suckling pig or kidis a favorite roasted outdoors over aromatic woods. Abbamele is a honey-based product made in Sardinia. It is also sometimes called “abbattu”, “abazu” or “honey sapa”.  Selected honeycombs are pressed to extract all honey and pollen which is then reduced in copper pots. The honey can be flavored with lemon or orange rinds. Abbamele is dark like molasses with a complex flavor that has hints of coffee and caramel. Abbamele is also similar to molasses in appearance but tastes like honey and is usually eaten with cheese and fresh fruit or even drizzled over pasta or vegetables. Sardinian wines have been influenced by the successive waves of invaders, with the Spanish leaving the most indelible mark. The full-bodied red Cannonau is the wine of choice when serving Sardinian lamb. Monica di Cagliari (DOC) can be found in dry well-aged varieties, as well as, a sweet dessert wine, known as, Liquoroso Dolce. Two well-known Sardinian white wines are Vernaccia di Oristano (DOC), a golden dry wine that is drunk with local fish and lobster and  Vermentino di Gallura (DOCG), also good with seafood. Spirits include the aperitivo, Liquoroso Secco (made from the Monica grape) and the Myrtle flavored, Mirto. There are also various types of Grappa and Fil’e Ferru, a Sardinian Aquavitae, and other aperitifs with infusions of citrus fruits such as Limoncino and Arangiu.

Make Some Sardinian Inspired Recipes At Home

Pane Carasau or Carta da Musica is a Sardinian bread, shaped into thin disks and stacked up in piles. Dry and crisp, the name Carta da Musica (music paper) is attributed to the noise produced when they are chewed. It is said to have been first made by the shepherds in Sardinia, who took it with them into the pastures as it keeps well. Pane Carasau is sometimes bathed in a sauce before it is eaten, and is an excellent accompaniment to cheese or meats. A typical dish made with pane carasau is pane frattau which is prepared by layering pane carasau with sauce, tomato, cheese and topped with poached eggs.

Pane Carasau (Sardinian Flatbread) 

Makes: 6

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups semolina flour, fine grind
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups warm water

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of mixer and mix until it comes together and becomes elastic. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it a few times. Set it on the counter and cover it with the mixing bowl and let it rest for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and place a baking stone on the rack. If you don’t have a stone you can use several parchment lined sheet tray. After the dough has rested divide the dough into 7 pieces and roll them under the palm of your hand until the becomes smooth balls of dough. Sprinkle the counter lightly with flour and then dip one of the balls of dough into the flour and shake off the excess. Using the palm of your hand flatten the dough out and then start rolling it out. Turn it 180 degrees between each roll so it becomes a long oval. Roll it as thin as you can. Using a fork dock the dough. Gently lift the dough and place it onto the stone and bake it for 5 minutes flipping it after 2 1/2 minutes. While it is baking roll out the next flatbread. Remove from the oven and continue baking the remaining 5 flatbreads.

Tomato-Poached Eggs with Sardinian Music Bread

 4 servings  Ingredients:

Risotto-Style Fregula with Mushrooms, Abbamele and Goat Cheese

Fregula is a small, toasted semolina pasta. Israeli couscous is a more readily available stand-in; you can also substitute a dark-colored honey for abbamele. 6 servings  Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces wild mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked fregula
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese or feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon abbamele or honey, divided
  • 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted

Directions: Combine broth and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until moisture evaporates. Add shallots; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add fregula and salt; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; cook 30 seconds or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Set aside 1/4 cup broth mixture; cover and keep warm. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 15 minutes total). Remove from heat. Stir in reserved 1/4 cup broth mixture, chives, goat cheese and 1 1/2 teaspoons abbamele. Sprinkle with walnuts. Drizzle each serving with 1/4 teaspoon abbamele. Serve immediately.

Malloreddus

Makes about 1 pound These tiny Sardinian dumplings resemble cavatelli and are often called gnocchetti sardi. Malloreddus are usually served with butter and Pecorino cheese, a simple tomato sauce or a rich lamb ragù. Ingredients:

  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups semolina flour
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • a gnocchi board or table fork

 Directions: Dissolve 1 teaspoon salt in 3/4 cup warm water. In a large bowl whisk together semolina and all-purpose flours; mound and form a well in the center. Add water mixture and 2 teaspoons oil to the well. Using your hand or a fork, slowly incorporate flour from inside rim of well. Continue until liquid is absorbed, then knead in the bowl until dough forms a ball (dough will be slightly sticky). Transfer dough to a well-floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes, dusting with a bit more flour as needed just to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Break off about 1/8 of the pasta dough; tightly re-wrap the remaining dough. Roll dough into a 1/4-inch cylinder and cut it into 1/4-inch-thick pieces. Pressing with your thumb, roll each piece on a gnocchi board or down the back of a fork to give it the characteristic ridges and put on a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. To cook the fresh malloreddus, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 6 minutes after the water returns to a boil. Drain, transfer to a large serving bowl and immediately toss with sauce and serve.

Sauces for Malloreddus

Tuna Sauce

Servings 4 Ingredients:

  • 1 lb malloreddus pasta
  • 7 oz fresh tuna, cut into small cubes
  • 4 oz onion, sliced thin
  • 3 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 oz capers
  • 3 ½ oz fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 oz fennel fronds
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 oz anchovies, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fish stock, see post for recipe: https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2013/01/10/hearty-healthy-winter-soups/

Directions: In a large pan heat oil and brown the onion and the tuna. Stirring constantly, add the capers. Pour the white wine over all and allow to evaporate. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the fish stock onto the tuna, add the fresh tomato and half the fennel fronds. Meanwhile, cook the “malloreddus” in salted water. Drain the “malloreddus” and put them into the pan containing the sauce and toss. Allow to cook for another minute with the remaining fennel and then sprinkle the chopped anchovies over the top. Arrange in a serving dish, decorating with small sprigs of fennel.

Lamb Chops and Ragù with Malloreddus

Serves: 4 – 6 Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound ground lamb
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 thyme sprigs, plus 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1 rosemary sprig, plus 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups prepared tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 8 lamb rib chops, about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 pound malloreddus pasta, gnochetti or cavatelli
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Sardo cheese (1 1/2 ounces) 

Directions: In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the ground lamb, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring to break up the meat until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the shallots, thyme and rosemary sprigs, bay leaf and the chopped onion.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the shallots and onion are softened, about 4 minutes. Add the red wine and boil over high heat until reduced by three-quarters, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken stock and tomato sauce and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper. Discard the thyme, rosemary sprigs and the bay leaf and keep the sauce hot. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper and pat the chopped thyme and rosemary onto the meat. Add the chops to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until well browned outside and medium-rare within, about 3 minutes per side. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the malloreddus pasta until al dente. Drain and return it to the pot. Add the lamb ragù and stir well. Add the pecorino cheese and stir again. Transfer the pasta to plates and top with the lamb chops.  MAKE AHEAD The lamb ragù can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Rewarm before serving.



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