The secret to spectacular Lamb Ragu is time. Stir a short list of ingredients together and let them bubble away until the individual flavors meld and blossom into something greater. It was my Italian friend Giovanna who taught me this. We took a cooking class from her when we visited Tuscany where she taught us to make authentic Italian ragu sauce and stressed, in her words, “remember you have to follow slowly all the steps, never be in a hurry…”
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I’m not much for recipes that require a lot of tedious preparation. This lamb ragu is no exception. It does take about an hour to cook, but almost all of the time is hands-off. Cut up a few ingredients, get the ragu going and then pour yourself a glass of wine. Then just check back once in a while to give the sauce a stir. That’s my kind of fussy.
You can serve this delicious lamb ragu with any kind of pasta you like (just as you would Lamb Meatballs); I’m partial to pappardelle or tagliatelle. It’s also wonderful over rice and I always top it with a sprinkle of sheep’s milk feta and slivers of fresh basil or mint.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 rib celery finely chopped
- 1 carrot finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 pounds lean ground lamb
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes with juice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 7 ounces feta cheese crumbled, to taste
- 1/2 cup torn fresh mint or fresh basil
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Cook and stir until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add lamb; cook and stir until the lamb has browned and most of the liquid had evaporated. Add wine and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until wine has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with their juices; bring to boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until ragù is thick and flavors have fully melded, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve lamb ragù over hot cooked pasta such as pappardelle or tagliatelle or over hot cooked rice. If desired, top with crumbled feta and fine slivers of fresh basil or mint.