Braised Lamb Cavatelli

4 lbs. bone-in shoulder, shanks or necks (or 2 lbs boneless lamb shoulder -OR could sub pork (shoulder) or beef -Short ribs, brisket, pot roast etc )

1 onion, roughly chopped

2 carrots, roughly chopped

4 stalks celery, roughly chopped

1 bulb fennel, roughly chopped

8 cloves garlic, peeled

1 bunch thyme

3 bay leaves

1 C red wine

¼ C Red wine Vinegar

1 can (16 oz) whole peeled tomatoes with liquid (use low sodium variety)

2 oz anchovy

6 C homemade veal or beef stock (use low sodium version if store-bought)

¼ C vegetable oil

1 lb cavatelli

1 bunch dandelion, green tops chopped into 1" pieces (can purchase at Whole Foods or Central Market or substitute Spinach Swiss chard, arugula, mustard greens or broccoli rabe)

½ lb mushrooms (chanterelles, shimeji, king trumpet, or other)


Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the vegetable oil. Season lamb pieces with salt and pepper. Add lamb to the pot and brown on all sides, about 10-15 minutes. Remove lamb and set aside. Add red wine, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add chopped onion, carrot, celery, fennel and garlic and continue to cook until wine is reduced by half. Add tomatoes with their liquid, breaking apart tomatoes as they are added to the pot. Add remaining ingredients (thyme, bay leaf, anchovies, red wine vinegar, and veal stock), and bring to a boil. Add lamb, cover, and reduce heat to a bare simmer, and cook until lamb is tender, about 2 ½ -3 hours. If time permits, cool the lamb in the braising liquid over night. Skim any remaining surface fat.

Strain braising liquid, separating the remaining meat from the vegetables. Pull meat into bite size pieces with a fork. Return braising liquid to a large pot and reduce by half. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to directions on package. In a separate pan, add lamb meat, mushrooms, dandelion, and some of the reduced braising liquid. Cook over medium high heat about 8 minutes, or until thoroughly heated and mushrooms are cooked through. Drain pasta and add to lamb, and stir to combine. Serve and top with grated pecorino or parmesan.