This Lamb Ragu is amongst the tastiest dishes I ever ate in my life, it's an amazing melt in the mouth tender lamb pasta that I ate in the beautiful small village of Introdacqua in the Abruzzo region.
Abruzzo is a mountainous area, home to not only some of the best pasta in Italy but also the best lamb I've tasted outside Australia. On the night I ate this at the unassuming bistro in the village only had one dish on the menu - the pizza ovens were 'off' so this, and panna cotta were all they had. I'll eat anything, so I wasn't put out in the slightest.
Slow cooked, meltingly tender lamb.
I certainly wasn't disappointed when it arrived. It's a sensation! A slow cooked ragu left the lamb as soft as butter and when blended with ribbons of pappardelle pasta became something of a dream.
How to make fresh Egg Pasta?
The pasta was obviously home made and elevated the dish even further so, follow my guide on How to Make Fresh Egg Pasta at home for the tastiest, softest fresh pasta ever. Once you begin to make your own fresh pasta at home, you'll never go back! If you're not into that idea, dried pappardelle is perfectly acceptable. No shade.
As close as it gets.
Our waitress didn't have a clue how our ragu was cooked, so I just had to go from a few local recipes I could find and memory. This recipe is my most used ragu recipe and is as close as it going to get! It's been a work in progress over the years to this final recipe, and regardless of authenticity, it's absolutely delicuous. The peas were my addition, I sometimes add them, sometimes not - I'll add them if I cook this around Easter time as there's a traditional lamb with peas dish I ate in Italy at Easter once. It adds a lovely fresh sweetness to cut through the rich sauce.
A versatile recipe to suit any meat.
I cook this year round - not just in wintertime - I'm just as happy with this in the summer. I'll also change up the type of meats I use from lamb to beef or pork, rabbit and duck - they're all amazing!
The ragu freezes very well, so I urge you to portion the sauce into individual servings for those times you just want a tasty pasta dish without waiting – there is ALWAYS a version of this ragu in my freezer! Always! I just checked... there are two portions! Maybe one now.
How to make my Lamb Ragu with Papardelle
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large lamb hind quarter shanks
- 1 large onion (diced)
- 1 large carrot (diced)
- 2 celery stalks (diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 200 ml white wine
- 1 l beef stock (hot)
- Salt & pepper
- 1 Bouquet garni
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Pappardelle pasta - homemade or store bought
- In a large casserole pan with a lid, heat the butter and oil over a moderate heat until hot. Add the lab shanks and cook for 4 minutes on each side turning to brown all the meat well. Remove from the pan. To the pan, add the onion, carrot and celery. Cook for 4 minutes until soft before adding the garlic, fennel seeds and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomato puree and then pour in the wine. Sizzle for 2-3 minutes to reduce the liquid.
- Pour in the beef stock and add the bouquet garni then bring to a boil. Return the meat to the pan and reduce the heat to low to get a slight simmer. Cook gently for 2-3 hours (lid on), turning the meat occasionally until it's falling off the bone. Remove from the heat and discard the bouquet garni.
- Carefully remove the meat from the pan and place on a large board to cool slightly for 10 minutes.
- Using a stick blender, blend the cooking liquid into a thick creamy sauce, the consistency of double cream. Reduce for 10-20 minutes over a moderate high heat if necessary - stirring to avoid sticking.
- Using a knife and fork, remove the meat from the bone and shred into smallish pieces. Discard any fat, gristle and bone. Return the meat to the pan and stir in the parmigiana reggiano.
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