Serves 4 to 6
- 2 ounces pancetta, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- One 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Sicilian on the branch
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 3 small bell peppers (one each red, yellow, and orange), seeded and quartered
In a mini-food processor, combine the pancetta and garlic. Process to make a smooth pestata. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the pestata, and cook until the fat is rendered, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Season the lamb with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Add the lamb to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the lamb releases its juices, about 6 minutes. Once the lamb has let out its juices, increase the heat to concentrate them and brown the meat all over, about 4 minutes more.
Season with the remaining salt and the red pepper flakes. Add the wine, bring it to a boil, and cook until it is almost reduced away, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, slosh out the can with 1 1/2 cups water, and add that, too. Add the oregano and paprika. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover, and cook 45 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add the potatoes and peppers and 1 cup water. Set the cover ajar, and cook until the vegetables and lamb are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes more. If the lamb is tender but the sauce is still too soupy, bring it to a boil to reduce and thicken it to concentrate the flavor.