April 4, 2011

Simply Delicious: Fettucine with Lamb Ragu

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This lamb ragu is extremely simple to make but gives you a big hearty, flavorful, and gourmet result. A couple of little tweaks give you a texture and flavor experience that raises this from any other ragu to something a bit more delectable. 

Herbie, intrigued by the tasty smells coming from the kitchen. 
Herbie of course loved this meal as well, with the fresh aromatic lamb meat filling the house with delicious and savory smells. He was pretty insatiable, but happy to get a little bite to eat after all was said and done. 

Making the Dish

Making the sauce, amped up with delicious savory root vegetables and red wine. 
To make this dish, you'll be braising some seasoned lamb in a rich and flavorful tomato sauce. So, start with your sauce and get it just right. In a large sauce pan, sauté half a diced spanish onion, half a diced small carrot, half a rib diced of celery, and a teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary in some nice extra virgin olive oil. Once it all has softened, add a cup of your basic tomato sauce to the mixture as well as a teaspoon of red pepper flakes and a cup of dry wine. Bring it all to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
The lamb shoulder, chopped into cubes.
While your super delicious sauce is simmering, take your lamb and cut it into 1/2 inch cubes. We used lamb shoulder for this since it responds well to braising. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Once your lamb is seasoned, drop it into the simmering sauce. 

Adding the seasoned lamb to the sauce. 
Bring the sauce and lamb to a boil, and then bring it down to a simmer and cook, covered, until the meat is fork tender. This will take about an hour to an hour and a half, depending upon how much meat you're using. 

Liberty's first experience with homemade Italian food? 
This is pretty much the sauce, with one final trick. To make the ragu thick and meaty, take the sauce our of the saucepan and into a food processor and pulse gently. You don't want to liquify it, you still want chunks of meat, but you want the sauce to get thick and hearty. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender, like we did. 

Pulsing the sauce to give it a thicker consistency. 
Gourmet Tip: We can't stress enough the notion that you should not pulse for too long. Just a few seconds to break the meat up. We probably went a little too long and the consistency was not quite what we were hoping for. On a second attempt with shorter pulses, it worked much better. 
Ellis is adapting quickly to the new experiences. While his owner visits Italy, Ellis gets the aromas of Italy.
The last thing you need to do is prepare your pasta. The fettucine is great for this because it is nice and thick and can hold a lot of the sauce on its surface area. If you want to use fresh pasta, papardelle or tagliatelle will work just as well. 

Adding the freshly cooked pasta to the ragu.
Salt the water and cook it it to one minute shy of the package directions. Then, remove it from the water and add it directly to the sauce. Toss it together over high heat to let the flavors marry together. 

The flavors have married together. And they'll live happily ever after. 
The Result

Serve a nice portion of the ragu coated pasta into a warm serving bowl. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over everything and then sprinkle grated cheese generously over the dish. 

Photographic evidence: Herbie likes spaghetti.
What you've got now is a dish that took just a few minutes of effort to prepare but pays huge dividends in flavor, texture, and satisfaction. The flavor is complex, meaty, savory, yet a touch sweet, and it compliments the pasta extraordinarily. 

It's so easy to execute that you really do have to try it. Hope it works out! Do you have a favorite ragu recipe? Let us know about it in the comments below!

And don't forget to help us out by voting for Herbie's video in the Whole Foods Foodie Fantasy Contest! Thanks again!

Check out the full ingredient list after the jump!

Fettucine with Lamb Ragu

Written by:

A delicious, hearty, Italian lamb ragu.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:

(Serves: 4)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium spanish onion
1/2 small carrot
1/2 rib celery
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup tomato sauce
1 lb lamb shoulder
1 lb fettucine


  1. My favorite combination: Cats and food.


  2. Thanks DonDonTootles - ours too! :)

  3. I voted for Herbie! He's just too adorable. I have a crush . . .

    I hope he, er, all of you win the prize!

  4. Thanks so much for your vote! We really appreciate it. Herbie is flattered that you have a crush :D

  5. Wonderful site you have here! If I wasn't hooked by the amazing recipes and photography, I'd be sucked in by the felines! :)

    1. Thank you very much! Glad you found us and hope you enjoy! :)


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