Braised Lamb Ragu Rigatoni

5 from 1 vote

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Swooning over this amazing braised Lamb Ragu rigatoni recipe! This ragu is the ultimate comfort food, easy to prep ahead, and is an amazing weeknight dinner. It begins with a prep of a slow braised lamb shoulder with tons of aromatics. We prepped each dish by heating the ragu with the pasta and a tad of heavy cream and pasta water. Then served with pecorino cheese and chopped parsley.

Braised Lamb Ragu Rigatoni

What ingredients do you need for this lamb ragu rigatoni?

Lamb Shoulder: Braising lamb shoulder in this ragu until the beef is tender and falling apart. If you’re in a pinch, you can use ground lamb as well.

Dry Red Wine: We’re reducing our sauce down with classic dry red wine. Red wine is going to add a depth of flavor to our lamb sauce. 

Crushed Tomatoes: Perfect for our lamb ragu sauce for the base, crushed tomatoes are the perfect acidic and flavorful element to this ragu.

Rigatoni: Rigatoni is one of our favorite types of pasta shapes, and it’s the perfect vessel for all the good stuff we have in this dish! Cooked al dente with a nice bite, the rigatoni’s tunnel-like shape helps grab all our delicious ingredients.

Braised Lamb Ragu Rigatoni

Instructions to make this recipe

Sear your lamb

Season your lamb on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven, or large deep pot with a drizzle of oil on medium-high heat.

Brown your lamb on all sides, turning occasionally, for about 6 to 7 minutes on each side, until the lamb gets a deep, golden brown. At this point, your lamb won’t be fully cooked yet. Transfer your lamb to a plate.  

Add in your aromatics

With the heat still on, bring the heat to medium. Add in your onions, carrots, and celery. Stir to combine, and let your mirepoix (mix of onion, carrot, and celery) sweat out for about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of chili. 

Then add in your tomato paste and garlic. Toss to combine and allow your tomato paste to turn a nice darkened red color, about 4 to 5 minutes. Then add in your wine, and allow that to reduce by half, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add in your crushed tomatoes and give it a big toss, let this simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, and add your lamb back into the pot. 

Season with salt, and pepper, and add in your balsamic, soy sauce, and broth/water.

Braise your ragu

Bring this to a gentle simmer, and then bring the heat to low, cover, and let your lamb braise in this mixture for about an hour. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

Transfer your lamb to the oven for about 2 to 3 hours until the lamb is tender and completely falls apart. 

When braised completely, remove the lamb chunks and transfer them to a cutting board, carefully. Shred them with a fork, and add them back into the sauce.

Recipe Tip

You can transfer this to the fridge if you are prepping ahead, but if you are ready to make your pasta, proceed to the next step.

Make your pasta and assemble!

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When boiling, season with a good amount of salt and boil your pasta.

Once your pasta is cooked, you can transfer it directly to the pot of braised lamb, finishing with 1/4 cream, pasta water as needed, and 1/4 cup pecorino cheese to toss.

If you only want to use some of the braise and save the rest, transfer however many lambs you want to a large skillet to warm through, add in your cooked pasta, toss with a dash of cream, a dash of pasta water as needed, and pecorino cheese.

Serve in bowls with more pecorino cheese and chopped parsley.

Date Night Lamb Ragu Rigatoni

Tips, Tricks and Substitutions

Are there any other alternatives to lamb? 

Sure! If you’re not a fan of lamb for this ragu rigatoni, you can use ground pork or ground beef, or even bone-in short ribs. If you’re even looking for a vegetarian option, you can use your favorite alternative meat substitution or mushrooms.

I don’t have rigatoni, is there a similar pasta substitution? 

Sure! If you’re looking for a similar shape, penne is also a great alternatives! You can also use pappardelle pasta. Ultimately, the choice of pasta is up to you! 

What’s the best way to store leftovers for lamb ragu rigatoni?

If you have any leftover lamb ragu left, we recommend storing the leftovers in an airtight container to keep it fully fresh and placing it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. 

Check out more of our favorite meat recipes! 

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Date Night Lamb Ragu Rigatoni
5 from 1 vote

Braised Lamb Ragu Rigatoni

Swooning over this amazing braised Lamb Ragu rigatoni recipe! This ragu is the ultimate comfort food, easy to prep ahead.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder, dried and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or avocado oil
  • 2 small yellow onions finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib of celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 28 ounce crushed tomatoes, we are using San Marzano
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups water or broth of choice
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup shredded pecorino cheese or parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley, for serving

Instructions 

  • Season your lamb on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven, or large deep pot with a drizzle of oil on medium-high heat.
  • Brown your lamb on all sides, turning occasionally, for about 6 to 7 minutes on each side, until the lamb gets a deep, golden brown. At this point, your lamb won’t be fully cooked yet. Transfer your lamb to a plate.
  • With the heat still on, bring the heat to medium. Add in your onions, carrots, and celery. Stir to combine, and let your mirepoix (mix of onion, carrot, and celery) sweat out for about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of chili.
  • Then add in your tomato paste and garlic. Toss to combine and allow your tomato paste to turn a nice darkened red color, about 4 to 5 minutes. Then add in your wine, and allow that to reduce by half, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add in your crushed tomatoes and give it a big toss, let this simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, and add your lamb back into the pot.
  • Season with salt, and pepper, and add in your balsamic, soy sauce, and broth/water.
  • Bring this to a gentle simmer, and then bring the heat to low, cover, and let your lamb braise in this mixture for about an hour. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Transfer your lamb to the oven for about 2 to 3 hours until the lamb is tender and completely falls apart.
  • When braised completely, remove the lamb chunks and transfer them to a cutting board, carefully. Shred them with a fork, and add them back into the sauce. You can transfer this to the fridge if you are prepping ahead, but if you are ready to make your pasta, proceed to the next step.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When boiling, season with a good amount of salt and boil your pasta.
  • Once your pasta is cooked, you can transfer it directly to the pot of braised lamb, finishing with 1/4 cream, pasta water as needed, and 1/4 cup pecorino cheese to toss.
  • If you only want to use some of the braise and save the rest, transfer however many lambs you want to a large skillet to warm through, add in your cooked pasta, toss with a dash of cream, a dash of pasta water as needed, and pecorino cheese.
  • Serve in bowls with more pecorino cheese and chopped parsley.

Nutrition

Calories: 777kcal, Carbohydrates: 107g, Protein: 41g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 85mg, Sodium: 732mg, Potassium: 1462mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 897IU, Vitamin C: 23mg, Calcium: 134mg, Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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