Let’s dig into chef Luca de Berardinis’ famed pappardelle lamb ragout
When chef Luca de Berardinis, who cut his teeth at Michelin-starred restaurants, arrived at buzzy Italian eatery Operetta — in July 2017 — to lead the kitchen, he brought a few key recipes with him. A native of Abruzzo, on Italy’s eastern coast, chef Luca learned to cook from his mother and grandmother. One of the dishes passed down was the pappardelle lamb ragout, which now appears, with a twist, on Operetta’s new menu.
So what’s in chef Luca de Berardinis’ pappardelle lamb ragout?
Tomato, carrot, ginger and parsley
“We use a range of winter vegetables in the lamb ragout, including carrots, onions, parsley and garlic. We also use a little fresh tomato.”
“We only use quality Australian lamb leg and we shave off any excess fat. The young lamb leg means we can avoid the gamey flavor that some people don’t like, and allow the spices to come through.”
“I like to use a white wine with good acidity, something like a pinot gris, which helps break through some of the richness of the lamb.”
“I like to use morel mushrooms in our ragout because they have an intense, earthy, soul-soothing flavor that helps give the dish depth, while also binding all the other ingredients together. We soak the morels in milk overnight and then add some of the infused milk in the final dish.”
Cardamom, cinnamon, star anise and tonka beans
“The spices we use at Operetta help infuse touches of Asia into what is a very traditional Italian dish.”
“We make this flat pasta noodle fresh daily; it’s ideal for soaking up the rich sauce. And then we top it with some lightly fried kale.”
This story first appeared in the January 2018 issue of Smile magazine.