Updated: Sep 6
Makes 4 serves - Preparation time 20 minutes - cooking time 3 hours
1kg lamb shoulder, cubed into 10-12 pieces
salt and black pepper
extra virgin olive oil,
1 brown onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
¼ cup red wine
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
8/10 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large spoonfuls tomato paste
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
600ml vegetable stock
200ml milk, optional
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
MAKING RAGU: THE RIGHT CUT OF LAMB!
For lamb ragu, the cut of choice is obviously lamb shoulder. A tough cut that holds up beautifully to slow cooking. Once it is cooked, lamb shoulder shreds beautifully & stays very tender. Plus the fattiness of the cut adds a ton of rich flavor to the ragu.
BROWN THE LAMB Use paper towels to pat the lamb as dry as you can and season with salt and black pepper. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the lamb for 3-4 minutes each side until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate to rest.
NOW VEGETABLES AND HERBS
Add onion and cook, stirring, until it has become translucent, then add chopped carrot and celery. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat well.
Put the lamb back into the saucepan, add herbs and stir well.
Add wine and let it evaporate over high heat.
When it comes to wine, you’ll want to use something that’s drinkably nice. You do want to use something that complements the flavors of the ragu really nicely without competing with it, like a Barbera d’Alba for example.
Add tomato paste, tomato and stir well, cooking for 1 minute. Lastly add the stock. Cover and bring to the boil over high heat. Turn the heat down and let the ragu simmer away on the stovetop. Simmer, turning halfway during cooking, for 2 hours 30 minutes or until sauce is thick and meat is tender. Discard the herbs. Transfer lamb to a large plate and using 2 forks, coarsely shred the lamb. Remove and discard the fat and bones. Add the shredded meat back into the tomato mixture and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.
One final, but very important step, is to finish the slow cooked ragu with milk. Stir well and cook for a further two minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water (a spoonful for each litre of water) to the boil. Add the orecchiette and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Drain, and toss with the sauce. Add a few tablespoons of the pasta water, a drizzle of olive oil and combine together.
Garnish with some freshly grated Parmesan and enjoy!
Hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, please let me know your thoughts and tag me on my Fb page Pasta Journey or my Instagram a_pasta_journey . I would love to hear from you!