Lamb Ragu with Mint Pesto
- 1 ¼ lbs. Lamb stew meat cut into about 1 inch pieces
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil for drizzling
- 1 onion diced
- 6 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp chopped calabrian chilis
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- 1 (28 oz) can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes crushed by hand
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 lb. calamarata pasta or pasta of choice
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Pecorino romano for serving
- Ricotta for serving
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove smashed
- ½ cup olive oil plus more if needed
- ¼ cup freshly grated pecorino romano
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- Season lamb all over with salt and pepper. Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and heat until hot.
- Sear lamb on all sides until browned. Remove from the pot and set aside.
- Add in onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook until very soft and translucent.
- Stir in tomato paste and calabrian chilies, and cook until tomato paste browns a bit, about 3 minutes.
- Deglaze with wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to get all the brown bits.
- Add in tomatoes, bay leaves, and reserved lamb. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring every now and then to prevent scorching, until lamb is tender, about 2-2 ½ hours.
- While lamb simmers make the pesto. In a food processor, pulse mint, parsley, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil until a coarse paste forms. Add more olive oil if needed.
- Add in pecorino cheese and lemon zest and pulse a few times to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Once lamb is tender, remove bay leaves. Break up the meat in the pot with a wooden spoon, or remove meat from the sauce, shred with two forks and return to the sauce.
- Let sauce simmer on low uncovered for 15 minutes more, just to thicken it up a bit. Stir as needed to prevent burning.
- Add in sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep sauce on very low while you boil the pasta.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Season heavily with salt.
- Boil pasta until al dente. Drain pasta (reserving some water), and add to the pot with the ragu. Stir to coat pasta in sauce, adding splashes of pasta water if needed to make it nice and saucy.
- Fold in peas.
- Serve topped with pecorino, a dollop of ricotta, a drizzle of pesto and fresh black pepper.
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