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Bolo's Oven Roasted Lamb Shanks with Roasted Tomatoes and Toasted Orzo

Serves: 4

Roasted Garlic Bulbs
1 head garlic, split in half crosswise
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place garlic heads in a small roasting dish and drizzle each half with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 45-1 hour or until soft. Let cool slightly and squeeze the cloves of garlic into a small bowl. 

Lamb Shanks
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 lamb shanks, bone in
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup port 
1 cup red wine
4 cups chicken stock 
4 sprigs fresh thyme
8 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley
Roasted Garlic Cloves, recipe above
Chopped parsley for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven until smoking. Season the shanks on both sides with salt and pepper and sear until golden brown on both sides, remove to a plate. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan and add the celery, carrots and onions and cook until caramelized. 
2. Add the port and red wine and cook until almost completely reduced. Add the chicken stock and shanks and salt and pepper and bring to a boil on the stove, cover, transfer to the oven and bake for 1 ½ - 2 hours or until the meat is tender. 
3. Remove shanks to a plate and loosely tent with foil to keep warm. Strain the cooking liquid into a medium saucepan and discard the solids Whisk in the roasted garlic and cook over high heat, whisking occasionally, until reduced by half, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove 1 cup of the liquid to use for the orzo and continue reducing the remaining liquid by half again or until thickened to a glaze. Serve the lamb on top of the orzo and drizzle the shanks with the reduced cooking liquid, oven roasted tomatoes and chopped parsley. 

Toasted Orzo Pasta
¾ lb orzo pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 cup reduced braising liquid (from above)

1. Heat a medium nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the orzo and toast until golden brown. 
2. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium heat, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the toasted orzo and the remaining orzo and sauté for 1 minute to coat the pasta with the oil/onion mixture. Bring 8 cups of water or chicken stock to a boil in a medium pot (or a combination of chicken stock and water) and add hot water/stock to the orzo as if you were making risotto, one cup at a time, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is al dente (you may not need to use all of the water. Stir in the cold butter and a 1 cup of the braising liquid, chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste and cook 1 minute longer. 

Slow Roasted Tomatoes
4 plum tomato, sliced in half vertically
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Toss the tomatoes in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in a 200 degree F oven for 6 hours. (Re-hydrated sun dried tomatoes will work just as well)

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