Lamb Ragu with Pappardelle

Okay, so my beautiful 29-year old daughter, Amie, and I are known to occasionally meet for a glass of wine and happy conversation on a Friday afternoon. We’re always in good moods then, anticipating the weekend ahead.

Amie owns a hair salon nestled into a converted 1920’s bungalow in Peoria Heights–what I like to call the “Broad Ripple (Indianapolis)” of Peoria. It’s a quaint little neighborhood village with eclectic shops, an amazing new-and-used book store and arguably some of the best fine dining in Central Illinois. In the summertime, people enjoy dinner and drinks al fresco while their dogs sleep under tiny cafe tables dotting the narrow sidewalks.

A couple of weeks ago, Amie walked down from her shop and met me at a one of the corner cafes where they serve really great french-inspired food in a rustic half-cafe-half-wine-and-cheese shop. That’s when I bought the package of Pappardelle nests calling my name.

I had never made pappardelle before, nor did I even know how to pronounce it. But after scouring the internet for a sauce recipe, I found one that looked worthy and added my own touches. I made it on a Saturday night when Amie was over for dinner, served with a nice Chianti. It was terrific!

Lamb Ragu with Pappardelle

  • 3lb bone-in lamb shoulder
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful each fresh rosemary and thyme, stems discarded and leaves finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 head of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • Two 14-ounce cans tomatoes
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 ounces fresh or dried pappardelle
  • 2 14-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese

Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to dutch oven and sear meat on all sides. Remove the meat and keep warm; and add a bit more oil to the dutch oven. Cook herbs, garlic, carrots, onion and celery until soft. Add wine, tomatoes and mushrooms. Cook until mixture reduces by at least half. Add meat back to dutch oven; add enough water to nearly cover meat and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and cover; slow cook for 3-4 hours or until meat falls off the bone, stirring occasionally.

Remove meat from dutch oven, discard bone and fat. Shred meat with forks, and add shredded meat back to pot. Add tomato sauce and stir until smooth. Add tomato paste and cook for another 10 – 15 minutes until sauce is thick and rich. Season to taste.

Serve over cooked Pappardelle with shaved parmesan cheese.

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