Much as I love roast lamb, and variations on the theme like my boneless leg of lamb on a bed of mint, there is nearly always too much for us to eat all at once, there’s just not that many of us. Well, more to the point the boys haven’t developed huge appetites yet. I sometimes use leftover lamb in sandwiches or in lamb pilaf, which we love, but I wanted to try something else last time. This leftover lamb pasta sauce is a bit of a cross between caponata and a lamb ragu. It’s comforting, tasty, and a great way to use up some Easter leftovers.
In case caponata is unfamiliar, it’s a Sicilian dish made with eggplant/aubergine. The additions can vary but usually include tomato, onions and some herbs and often olives, capers, raisins and even a little chocolate. Here I have used many of those sweet savory flavors along with some diced leftover lamb. While caponata is usually served room temperature, I made this warm, more like a Bolognese sauce or ragu.
How it’s made
This leftover lamb pasta sauce is easy to make, although it does take slightly longer than some pasta sauces. First, you cook the onions and eggplant in a skillet then add in the chopped lamb to brown it. Add the remaining ingredients and let it simmer a bit and the flavors mingle. Then, serve over pasta and enjoy.
I have served this with buccatini but to be honest, I think it would be better with a smaller pasta such as farfalle or penne. Sometimes you just go with what you have. Whatever you use, this sauce is a tasty way to use up leftover lamb in a nicely, different way. So instead of just one tasty lamb dinner, you have two (or more, of course).
- ½ large or 1 small onion
- 10oz/275g eggplant/aubergine
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 6oz/170g leftover roast lamb, trimmed and diced small
- 1tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1tbsp chopped fresh mint
- (optional, 1tbsp chocolate chips/cocoa powder)
- 1tsp dried oregano
- ½tsp cinnamon
- 1½ cups/ 360ml finely chopped tomatoes
- 2tbsp pitted green olives, roughly chopped (or use slices)
- Dice the onion and eggplant into relatively small dice.
- Warm half the oil in a medium skillet/frying pan and add the onion and eggplant. Cook, stirring regularly, until they are both softening. Add a little more oil at a time as needed to avoid sticking (you just don't want all at once or just a few pieces of eggplant will absorb it all).
- Once the eggplant and onion are soft, finely chop the garlic and add to the pan. Stir and cook for a couple minutes. Add the leftover lamb and cook a minute, stirring regularly, until it browns.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pan (parsley, mint, chocolate/cocoa if using, oregano, cinnamon, tomatoes and olives). Mix well, bring to a simmer and cook over a low heat for around 10 minutes to bring the flavors together. Serve over pasta of your choice (recommend eg penne, farfalle).
Now that you’ve enjoyed your Easter meal, chocolate or whatever else, give the leftovers another lease of life! Get some inspiration from all the leftover recipes being shared today:
- Ham, Pea and Onion Risotto from Family around the Table
- Macaroni and Cheese with Ham from Palatable Pastime
- Jelly Bean Cookies from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Deviled Ham and Egg Salad from Cooking with Carlee
- Loaded Stuffed Potato Pancakes from Jolene’s Recipe Journal
- Leftover Lamb Pasta Sauce with Eggplant from Caroline’s Cooking