Joshua McFadden is executive chef/owner of Portland, Oregon’s Ava Gene’s, which Bon Appétit has named a Top 10 Best New Restaurant. McFadden’s latest restaurant, Tusk, opened in Portland, Oregon, in 2016. His first book, Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, has just been published.
SIX SEASONS highlights how to take advantage of vegetables’ attributes as they evolve throughout their growing seasons. To help readers identify which vegetables are best at any given time, McFadden organizes the book into micro seasons—from the fresh green of Spring to the fits and starts of Early Summer, the bounty of Midsummer to the bursting harvest of Late Summer, and the ebbing of Fall into the earthy, mellow sweetness of Winter.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces green garlic, sliced into ¼-inch-thick pieces (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 pound carrots (12 smallish), ends trimmed, peeled, cut into ¼-inch dice (about 2 ½ cups)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- ½ cup dry, unoaked white wine
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon dried chile flakes
- A generous sprig thyme
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
- ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
- 8 ounces short dried pasta, such as orecchiette, penne, or ditalini
Find This Recipe on Page 143 of Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables by Joshua McFadden.
Here the carrots don’t stand out on their own but rather melt and merge into a sweet and mellow foundation for the ragu. If you can’t find green garlic, you can use regular head garlic (if you do, you’ll only need 5 or 6 cloves because it’s so much more pungent).
- Heat a glug of olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the green garlic and carrots and season with 1 teaspoon salt and lots of twists of black pepper. As soon as the vegetables begin to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium-low. Keep cooking until they are soft and fragrant, but not browned at all, about 10 minutes.
- Add the lamb, breaking up any big chunks, and cook until it’s no longer pink, 5 to 10 minutes; take care not to actually brown the lamb or get really crusty bits.
- Add the wine, water, chile flakes, 2 teaspoons salt, and the thyme. Cover the pan and cook at a gentle simmer until the flavors have married nicely, the liquid is brothy and flavorful, and the vegetables are fully tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Check on the ragu during cooking to be sure it’s not drying out; if so, add a bit more water. You want the final texture to be loose and slightly brothy, but not watery.
- Stir in the butter and the cheeses, and add a few more twists of black pepper. Taste and adjust the flavors with more salt, black pepper, chile flakes, or cheese.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt until it tastes like the sea. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until al dente. With a ladle or a measuring cup, scoop out about ½ cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and add it to the ragu. Simmer together for another minute or two to fully cook the pasta and infuse it with the sauce flavors, adding a few spoonfuls of the cooking water if the sauce is getting dry.
- Pile everything into shallow bowls. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and serve. Pass more cheese at the table.