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Mediterranean Spiced Lamb over Orzo Pasta

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Fragrant, savory lamb is the star of our Mediterranean Spiced Lamb with Orzo Pasta, and our Infused Garlic Salt is the perfect compliment to bring out its delicious flavor. It's the perfect dish to feed a crowd and it tastes complex while being super easy to make. The addition of fresh herbs and tangy feta cheese makes this dish perfect for spring. 

Serves: 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground lamb
½ teaspoon Infused Garlic Salt
Cracked Tellicherry Peppercorns, to taste
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
28 ounces can of whole tomatoes, drained
14 ounces can of chopped/diced tomatoes
5 ounces fresh spinach or kale, chopped

For the Pasta
2-3 tablespoons Pure Kosher Sea Salt
1 pound orzo pasta
2 cups chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
½ cup crumbled feta

PROCESS

In a Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pan with a lid, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the ground lamb and season with ½ teaspoon of garlic salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring to break the lamb apart, until it is nicely browned. Remove the lamb with a slotted spoon and drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the fat.

Return the pot to the stove top and add the onion and garlic over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook until they start smelling extremely toasty and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the whole tomatoes and break into pieces with a spoon. Let the tomatoes stew in the spices, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add the can of diced tomatoes and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Add the cooked lamb back to the pot, give a good stir, then cover the pot and leave it to cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook just a couple more minutes until the spinach is wilted. Here is where we tell you to add more salt and pepper to taste, however go easy on the salt. The feta and olives will add more salinity once the dish is assembled.

While the lamb and tomatoes are simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the kosher salt and orzo and cook to al dente according to package instructions (usually about 7-8 minutes). Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining. Toss the orzo with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, and all of the parsley. Add a little bit of pasta water at a time if you feel it needs additional liquid. Spread the orzo out on large serving platter or into a serving bowl. Spoon the lamb and sauce all over the top, then sprinkle with the feta and chopped olives. Serve immediately.

The sauce can be made a day ahead and warmed gently on the stove before serving.

Recipe from Food 52

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