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Lamb Pasta E Fagioli

1/4 c Virgin olive oil; PLUS 2 tb Virgin olive oil
2 lb Boneless lamb stew meat
1 Celery stalk; finely minced
1 sm Carrot; finely minced
1 tb Finely minced garlic
6 c Veal, lamb or chicken stock
3/4 c Dried flageolet beans =OR=- Red kidney beans
4 Sprigs fresh oregano =OR=- Marjoram, -=OR=-
1 tb -Dried Marjoram
4 Plum tomatoes
3/4 c Uncooked elbow macaroni


Garnish
1/2 c Grated Parmesan cheese =OR=- Romano cheese
1 sm Onion; finely minced
Freshly ground pepper
Virgin olive oil


IN A DUTCH OVEN or 3-quart heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat on top of the stove. Add the lamb in batches and brown well on all sides. Do not crowd the pot or the meat will steam rather than brown. Remove and reserve as pieces become brown. Discard fat. Preheat oven to 350F. When all the meat has browned, lower heat to low, add 2 tablespoons oil and add the celery, carrot and garlic. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Return the meat to the pot. Add the stock and beans. Bring to a boil, add the marjoram or oregano, cover, and bake 1 1/2 hours, or until the lamb is cooked and the beans are tender. Meanwhile, using a small paring knife, cut off tip and stem of the tomatoes. Remove the seeds and core, leaving only firm, outer pulp. Slice one side of each tomato and lay it flat on work surface. Cut into 1/4-inch lengthwise strips, pile up strips and cut across into 1/4-inch pieces. Reserve on a plate until needed. Add the macaroni to the casserole, replace in oven, and cook, covered, another 20 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Remove the fresh herb sprigs and add the tomatoes. Transfer to a large tureen or divide among individual soup bowls. Offer grated cheese, minced onions, ground pepper and olive oil as garnishes at the table.




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