Italian Lamb Ragu (Ragu di Agnello) with onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, red wine & fragrant herbs. This Italian Comfort food is very easy to make. Serve with pappardelle pasta and Pecorino cheese.
Recently while I was in Italy, I had some truly memorable meals. The Hotel Minerva in Sorrento was the site of several of these outstanding dishes.
Italian Lamb Ragu Recipe Recreation
The recipe I am recreating is a Lamb Ragu or Ragu di Agnello in Italian. The depth of flavor with this Lamb was as good as I have ever had. And it was served with fresh pappardelle pasta, which is a very wide pasta noodle, and it is in the form of wide ribbons.
And as good Italians do, you finish cooking the pasta in the sauce, letting the rich ragu cling to the fresh, wide noodle pasta.
So this is my recreation of Ragu di Agnello (Lamb Ragu) from the Hotel Minerva in Sorrento Italy.
What is Italian Lamb Ragu (Ragu di Agnello)?
The word Ragu describes a rich, slowly cooked Italian meat sauce. Ragu is hearty and very flavorful with pasta, gnocchi, or polenta. The most famous ragu is Pasta Bolognese! One thing is true of any good ragu – that the meat is the star of the show.
Don’t rush this lamb ragù recipe. A long, slow cook is needed to build the deep, intense flavor the sauce is known for. This starts with chopped carrots, onion, and celery. Sauté these veggies until they’re tender and beginning to brown. Add the tomatoes and broth and allow the sauce to leisurely simmer for two to three hours. This is when the flavors meld and become concentrated.
You’ll want to use high-quality canned tomatoes (like San Marzano) and wine (choose a dry red that you like to drink) for this recipe, as both ingredients really shine through here. The old adage goes something like this “You cook with what you would drink”.
- 3-4 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb. ground lamb
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 celery stalk chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup red wine
- 28 oz canned whole plum tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2-3 rosemary sprigs
- 1 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- 1 lb. Pappardelle pasta
- Pecorino cheese
- Add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil to a Dutch oven and brown the lamb.
- Drain the excess fat and transfer the lamb to a bowl.
- Add another tbsp of olive oil to the same pan
- Sauté the carrot, celery and onion slowly until soft
- Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute
- Add the lamb back to the pan and mix to combine.
- Add the red wine and reduce by half.
- Once reduced, add the stock and canned tomatoes.
- Break up the tomatoes with a spoon and stir to combine.
- Add the rosemary, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.
- Let the ragu simmer slowly on a medium-low heat, uncovered for 2-3 hours.
- If it starts to dry out add a little more water or stock.
- Once ready, taste and add more salt as needed.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta until al dente while keeping the ragu warm.
- Once the pasta is cooked transfer it to the ragu and toss until completely combined in the sauce.
- Serve in bowls topped with pecorino cheese.
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If you like this recipe for Italian Lamb Ragu, then you should try our recipe for Easy Tacos and Quesadillas.
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