Pappardelle with Lamb Meatballs and Capers

papardelleOne of my favorite places to cook is in an unfamiliar kitchen. Sure, I like my Calphlon pans, Global knives and Microplane graters, but sometimes the best dishes come out of bare kitchens. Remember that dumb phrase: “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Completely true in the kitchen.

I found myself in a kitchen with limited leftover groceries and mysteriously no salt! I mean so salt anywhere. I had seen salt the previous day but I kid you not, there was so salt to be found. But there were….CAPERS! Of course, those little green soft purses are bursting with salt flavor. I also had leftover lamb burger meat and some fresh pasta. Oh and half of a tomato. I thought I had lemon juice lying around, but that was not the case. So my caper lemon sauce idea quickly became caper and tomato. The result was something so simple and perfect that I couldn’t believe it hasn’t crossed my find before.

I’m pretty sure spaghetti with tomato and capers is a thing, but to me it seemed slap dash and exciting! You really want to use fresh pappardelle to get the droopy wide noodles to soak up the rich salty capers- and you can wrap the noodles around the meatballs like a pig in a blanket! Or maybe a lamb in a sweater?

caper pasta

Pappardelle with Lamb Meatballs and Capers

Serves 2

You will need:

2 servings fresh papardelle pasta (available in your grocery store usually somewhere near the cheese or salad dressing)

½ lb. ground lamb meat

1 Tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon all spice (or something like coriander or steak seasoning to give the lamb a bit of flavor)

1 medium-sized tomato, chopped

2 Tablespoons large capers

3 Tablespoon caper juice

3 Tablespoons olive oil


1. Bring about 2 quarts of water to boil in a medium-sized pot.

2. Mix the lamb meat together with the parsley, ½ the red pepper flakes, and the allspice. Form into small ½ balls.

3. Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Space the meatballs out and cook, without disturbing for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir them around so they begin to brown on all sides and continue to cook for about 8 minutes total. The water should be boiling by now, so drop the noodles and in and cook until just al-dente which is about 4 minutes.

4. Add the chopped tomatoes, the capers and the rest of the olive oil. Cook for about 5 minutes.

5. Add the caper juice and the just-cooked pasta and stir to combine.

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