Lamb Ragu



As promised, here is the lamb ragu recipe for the homemade tagliatelle that I wrote about earlier this week.  Hopefully you’ve made your pasta and you’ve just been tapping your fingers as you’ve waited on me to give you the recipe for the sauce.  Well, wait no longer…

Traditionally, ground beef or pork is the meat in a ragu or Bolognese sauce.  However, I just couldn’t resist substituting ground lamb.  For those who read Minced regularly, you’ve heard me lust after lamb before.  For those who don’t know about my lamb obsession, it’s one of my favorite meats.  In this ragu, it provides depth and an earthiness that frankly makes me want to swoon.  It is very, very good.

The recipe below makes more than enough sauce for one pound of tagliatelle.  I did this on purpose because when I make sauce, I like to make enough sauce for two dinners since it freezes well and takes time to make.  With that being said, feel free to cut the recipe in half if you don’t want to make a large batch. 

Don’t rush the ragu – please, I beg of you.  It requires at least two hours of simmering and will benefit from more.  As it cooks, if the ragu seems too thick simply add a 1/4 cup of water and continue to let it simmer.  If you’ve made your pasta in advance, now is the time to crack open that bottle of wine and pour yourself a big glass.   Your house is going to smell delicious and you might as well kick back with a favorite book and enjoy it.

For an extra special treat, before serving top the pasta and sauce with a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese.  I first had mascarpone cheese in a tomato sauce when we were on vacation in San Diego and it blew me away.  The creamy sweetness of the mascarpone makes a dynamite combination with the lamb ragu.  I promise you’ll love it.

Lamb Ragu
Serves 6 to 8

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground lamb (beef or pork could also be substituted)
1 cup dry white wine
1 (28 ounce) can of good quality crushed tomatoes (I like the San Marzano brand)
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large, wide-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes or until the onions and carrots are just soft (this may take longer depending on how finely you chopped the vegetables).  Toss in the garlic and sauté until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. 

Add the ground lamb, breaking up any large pieces with the back of a wooden spoon.  Cook until nicely browned.  Add in the white wine and let the sauce simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed/evaporated.  Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, the rosemary, and the anchovy paste if using.  Bring to a simmer and let the sauce simmer for at least two hours adding water by the 1/4 cup if needed. 

Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving over homemade tagliatelle or store-bought noodles.  Enjoy!


  1. The recipe looks great; I might make it tomorrow.

    I love reading your blog. It makes one feel like you are right there helping one not only cook the meal but enjoy the entire experience, like enjoying a glass of wine and/or reading a book while cooking.

    Is there a way you could put a link on your page that would print out the recipe in a “printer friendly” format?

    Keep up the great work.


  2. Rich,

    Thanks for the nice comment and the great suggestion about the blog. I’ve actually found a way to include a link to a pdf version of the recipe that will be in a printer-friendly format. Let me know what you think of it!



  3. Absolutely fabulous recipe – I made it last night and everyone LOVED it. I will definitely be making this again….lots and lots of times!


  4. I had this on the homemade pasta and luckily I have plenty of leftovers. The lamb goes so well with the sauce. I highly recommend it and it is not hard to make.


  5. For this, I simmer with the lid off, but it depends. If I’m trying to reduce a liquid, I simmer lid off. If I am looking to cook/soften, but not reduce, I do lid on. So glad you tried the recipe. It’s one of my favorites.


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