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Brown rice penne with lamb and mint pesto

Brown rice penne with lamb and mint pesto

This wild rice penne with lamb and mint pesto is a hearty meal filled with spring flavor.

Italians don’t do ham for Easter, they do lamb.

Unless, you’re my grandfather, who, although has to do with as much Italian American as they come, for some factor enjoys ham.

Growing up, Easter Sunday was an egg hunt between my sibling and I in the early morning (which I constantly won) followed by copious quantities of Italian Easter bread (no better baked good in all the world) for breakfast and a lamb roast in the late afternoon for dinner.

I’ll always remember the one year, somewhere in the middle academic year, when my mommy and I drove down to little Italy in the Bronx for a reason to get some fresh mozzarella, cannolis and the very best ravioli you can get beyond making it yourself.

We parked the vehicle, put cash in the meter and I turned around to see an entire lamb carcass staring at me from the window of one of the numerous guido deli-like joints little Italy is filled with.

It was generally the entire animal, sans skin & fur, hanging by its legs just hanging in the window.

I suggested we do ham the next Easter after that.

It took a few years, however I got over the lamb event and decided I was cool with eating it once again.

Amusing enough, my mama has given that swore off infant animals and we have actually moved more towards Easter breakfast rather than supper in recent years.

So given that I will not be consuming it next weekend, I chose to take all the normal flavors of a lamb roast and produce a pasta meal similar to the good ‘ol days when my young naive mind just associated bread, chocolate and egg searches for Easter, not hanging lamb carcasses.

The pesto is filled with mint, sprouts and pistachios and pairs completely with the ground lamb.

This was my first time attempting wild rice pasta and while you can certainly use any pasta you desire, it’s chewy texture is sort of fun and since I’m on a mission to keep extreme wheat out of my diet, it worked.

Red lentil pasta is another fantastic gluten-free pasta option if that’s something you’re searching for.

If you want a hearty dish to commemorate spring, this penne with lamb and mint pesto is your meal.


For the Pasta

  • 12 ounces brown rice penne (or any pasta you like)
  • 1 pound ground lamb, cooked and fat drained pipes

For the Pesto

  • 2 cups loaded infant spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup packed mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup packed sprouts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup unsalted pistachios
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons additional virgin olive oil


  • Once boiling, include pasta and cook according to package directions till al dente.
  • Drain pasta and location in a large bowl.
  • Include the cooked lamb and the pesto and toss to integrate until the pasta is fully covered with the pesto.
    Nutrition Details:

    Yield: 4

    Serving Size: 1

    Quantity Per Portion:

    Calories: 641 Total Fat: 40 g Hydrogenated Fat: 13 g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 24 g Cholesterol: 121 mg Salt: 490 mg Carbohydrates: 32 g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 1g Protein: 38 g

    This website offers approximate nutrition info for benefit and as a courtesy only. Nutrition info can vary for a range of reasons. For the most precise dietary information use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the real active ingredients you used in the dish.

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