"This dish was made for us by our (Greek) friend Dimitri, from a recipe that has been handed down in his family for generations."
Feeds: 6 - 8
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 3 and a half hours
1 leg of lamb, on the bone
5 cloves of garlic
a small bunch of fresh mint
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
75ml extra virgin olive oil
300g risoni, kritharaki or small macaroni
2 tablespoons dried mint
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/gas mark 2.
2. With the tip of a sharp knife, make 6 or 7 quite deep holes on both sides of the meat. Stuff these with small pieces of garlic, followed by an equal amount of salt and black pepper mixed together. Plug the holes with a couple of leaves of fresh
mint, and season the meat with a little more salt and pepper.
3. Finely chop the onions and put them into a large roasting dish. Add the tomatoes and oil and stir well. Put the meat on top, and place in the oven.
4. Cook for 3 and a half hours. Keep adding water to the sauce to prevent it from drying out. If you like, you can baste the lamb with spoonfuls of the sauce so that it forms a crust of caramelized onions on the meat.
5. When 20 minutes of cooking time is left, add a cup of water to the sauce and stir in the risoni or macaroni.
6. Season, sprinkle well with dried mint (use more than you think you should - it adds a peppery kick to the sauce) and put back into the oven until the pasta is tender.
The risoni will expand and absorb the liquid sauce, which in turn will have absorbed all the juices from the meat. Keep adding water and stirring every 5 - 10 minutes if you need to so that the pasta stays moist and doesn't stick.
- To serve, try green beans, allowed to cool slightly and sprinkled with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.
- Otherwise a green or Greek salad makes a good accompaniment.
Published by Conran Octopus Leon book 2, Naturally Fast Food is on sale September 6th and costs £20.