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White Lamb Ragu

White Lamb Ragu



  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 2 tbsp. butter

  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed

  • 1 cup coarse breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs

  • Salt and pepper

  • ½ cup each fresh mint and flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Lamb Ragu & Pasta

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 lb. ground lamb

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 shallots, finely chopped

  • 1 small stalk celery with leafy top, finely chopped

  • 1 small carrot, peeled and grated or finely chopped

  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp. lemon or orange zest (from about 2 lemons or 1 orange)

  • 1 tsp. (about 1/3 palmful) crushed red pepper

  • 1 tsp. (about 1/3 palmful) fennel seeds

  • About 1/4 tsp. ground allspice

  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste

  • ½ cup white wine

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • ½ cup whole milk

  • 1 lb. mezzi rigatoni or orecchiette

  • A handful of grated Pecorino Romano


Step 1

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

Step 2

For the breadcrumbs, in a skillet, heat the oil, two turns of the pan, over medium-high. Add the butter and let it melt into the oil. Add the garlic. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about a minute. Add the breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring often, until toasted and deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Mix in the mint and parsley.

Step 3

For the ragu, in a Dutch oven or deep skillet, heat the oil, two turns of the pan, over medium-high. Add the lamb. Cook, stirring often and breaking up the meat with a spoon, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add the shallots, celery, carrot, garlic, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, fennel seeds, and allspice. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste; cook, stirring often, until slightly darker in color, about 2 minutes. Add the wine; cook, stirring often, until absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and milk. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer until ready to serve.

Step 4

Salt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook until 1 minute shy of al dente. Scoop out half a cupful of the starchy cooking water and add to the ragu. Drain the pasta. Add the pasta and cheese to the ragu and toss until coated. Serve in shallow bowls. Top with the breadcrumbs.