Quick Lamb Ragu Recipe with Pasta


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Our quick lamb ragu recipe with pasta is perfect for nights when you just can’t futz with anything difficult. We served our lamb ragu with chiocciole pasta.


Quick Lamb Ragu Recipe with Pasta

Our quick lamb ragu recipe with pasta is perfect for nights when you just can’t futz with anything difficult.
5 from 3 votes
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef, pork, or a mix
  • 1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery trimmed and small-diced
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and very thinly sliced (or minced, if preferred)
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper more or less to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dry oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine or beef stock
  • ½ cup beef stock
  • 1 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon sugar if needed
  • ½ cup heavy cream use more or less, depending on preference
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 16 ounces pasta of your choice we used chiocciole, but pappardelle, rigatoni, or paccheri

For Serving:

  • A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil


Prepare the Lamb:

  • In a wide skillet or sauté pan, heat the neutral cooking oil over medium heat. Add the ground lamb and cook, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon, for 8-12 minutes until the lamb is cooked through. Season with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper, if desired.
  • Spoon the cooked meat into a bowl.

Sauté the Aromatics:

  • Return the pan to medium heat and add the butter. Once it is melted and frothy, add the onion and celery. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the onions are softened and beginning to brown. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the sliced garlic and cook for 45 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Next, add the crushed red pepper, thyme, and oregano and toss to combine the vegetables with the spices.

Prepare the Lamb Ragu Base:

  • Add the tomato paste to the pan and toss to coat all the vegetables in the paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the paste begins to deepen in color.
  • Pour in the wine (or stock) and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir until the paste is well incorporated into the wine.
  • Pour in the beef stock and add the tomatoes. Bring the ragu to a boil and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly, until the liquid has reduced and thickened.
  • Finally, add the cooked lamb to the sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the flavors have melded. Taste and season to your preferences.

Cook the Pasta:

  • As the lamb ragu is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente and reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta.

Finish the Lamb Ragu:

  • After the pasta has been drained, finish the lamb ragu. Return the heat on the ragu to medium. Add the pasta cooking water and the heavy cream and stir to combine.
  • Once the mixture is bubbly, add the pasta and toss to combine. (Note: You can also sauce only the pasta you intend to eat and store the pasta and sauce separately in the fridge.) After about 1-2 minutes in the sauce, the pasta should be glossy and coated. Turn off the heat.

To Serve the Lamb Ragu:

  • Divide the lamb ragu with pasta between bowls and serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil leaves, or freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, if desired. Enjoy!
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If you enjoyed this ragu recipe, check out our very delicious beef and pork ragu recipe!

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