There are dishes in which the ingredients, when brought together, transcend the familiar extent of their single ability to please and generate flavor so powerfully thrilling that before it all reflective appraisal gives way, surrendering the palate to abandoned delectation. In this dish it happens with lamb, beans, and garlic.
There are several stages to the cooking. First the lamb is browned. Then it is cooked with a soffritto—a sautéed flavor base—of onion, olive oil, and sage. After it cooks some more with white wine, the meat is transferred to the oven. Drained canned cannellini beans are added after 1½ hours’ stewing. When the lamb and beans have cooked together a while longer and are ready to serve, chopped garlic and parsley are mixed in. This last potent fillip completes the stirring character of the dish.
© 1986 Marcella Hazan estate. All rights reserved.