Lamb Ragu

I could eat pasta everyday of the week (and definitely did when I was in Italy earlier this year).  However, I try to limit my intake as much as possible.  So when I do splurge and have pasta I want it to be worth it.  This lamb ragu definitely falls into that category.  It’s a nice hearty meat sauce that begs to be paired with a strong red wine.  The lamb makes the flavor a little more special then your average meat sauce, as does the herbaceous fennel and pepper.  It takes a little time but the slow cooked flavor is worth it.  Mint and lamb love each other and here the fresh herb at the end helps punch up the slow cooked sauce.  Like I said, this pasta is great with a full bodied red, we had it with Patrick’s favorite, the Bogle Phantom, as well as a light green salad.  This sauce freezes really well so you can have it on hand – this is the best kind of thing to have handy for a snow day!

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Lamb Ragu (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:
Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons aleppo pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pound short cut pasta
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup sliced mint
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

In a large skillet or dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Crumble in the lamb with you fingers then season with salt and pepper.  Don’t move the meat around for several minutes so the bottom can begin to brown.  Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until cooked through and browned, breaking up the larger pieces as you stir it occasionally.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the lamb and set aside in a bowl.  Add the pancetta and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium and toss in the carrot, onion, celery and garlic along with salt and pepper.  Cook for 7 minutes until the onion is translucent and the veggies have softened.  Add in the fennel seeds, aleppo pepper and the tomato paste.  Cook for 3 minutes more, stirring a lot to ensure the tomato paste gets cooked.

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Add back the lamb and stir it to combine.  Add the wine and deglaze the pan using the bottom of your spoon to get up the brown bits.  Finally add the crushed tomato, more salt and pepper if necessary.  Bring it to a simmer and then half over the pan with a lid so it can all cook together but some steam can escape.

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Cook over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Here the sauce can be stored in the fridge after it has cooled for several days or frozen for several months.  To serve, cook the pasta in salted water, add it to the sauce and garnish with the ricotta, mint and fresh tomatoes.

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Lamb Ragu

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Print

Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons aleppo pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pound short cut pasta
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup sliced mint
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

In a large skillet or dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Crumble in the lamb with you fingers then season with salt and pepper.  Don’t move the meat around for several minutes so the bottom can begin to brown.  Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until cooked through and browned, breaking up the larger pieces as you stir it occasionally.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the lamb and set aside in a bowl.  Add the pancetta and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium and toss in the carrot, onion, celery and garlic along with salt and pepper.  Cook for 7 minutes until the onion is translucent and the veggies have softened.  Add in the fennel seeds, aleppo pepper and the tomato paste.  Cook for 3 minutes more, stirring a lot to ensure the tomato paste gets cooked.

Add back the lamb and stir it to combine.  Add the wine and deglaze the pan using the bottom of your spoon to get up the brown bits.  Finally add the crushed tomato, more salt and pepper if necessary.  Bring it to a simmer and then half over the pan with a lid so it can all cook together but some steam can escape.  Cook over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Here the sauce can be stored in the fridge after it has cooled for several days or frozen for several months.  To serve, cook the pasta in salted water, add it to the sauce and garnish with the ricotta, mint and fresh tomatoes.

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