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Growing up, and still today, my Christmas feast with my family involves Italian food… always. Big trays of lasagna, or a giant pot of Spaghetti and meatballs, Lately, my mom is really into doing the Feast of the 7 Fishes, an Italian-American celebration of Christmas Eve with meals of fish and other seafood– so we’ve been doing big pots of Cioppino (Seafood Soup), linguine with clams, and all sorts of fun seafood dishes! You get it. We have yummy, pasta filled Christmases. It’s great. And this Lamb Ragu With Rigatoni is a great addition.
With that in mind, when I think about sharing Christmas recipes with you it’s hard for me not to share all of the pasta, and this Lamb Ragu With Rigatoni here is absolutely fantastic! It’s one of those dishes that is so warm, comforting, and full of delicious flavor. Your family is just going to ooh and ahh over this dish. My kiddos loved it so much that they kept coming back for more, which makes a momma so happy. So if you’re looking for a magical Christmas meal– put this on the menu!
So Happy Holidays, my friends. I hope your families enjoy this dish as much as mine did!
- 3.5 - 4 lb. boneless lamb leg
- kosher salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp. flour (use arrowroot starch if you are GF or omit)
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cups finely diced onion (1/2 a large onion)
- 1.5 cups diced carrots (about 2 carrots)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 cup red wine (use beef broth if keeping whole30)
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 28 oz can Whole Peeled Tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 box dried rigatoni or pappardelle pasta
- freshley chopped flat-leaf parsley, to taste
- parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Carve off excess fat from the lamb, the cut into ~3 inch sized chunks. Season generously with salt and pepper. In a bowl, toss the lamb in 2 tbsp. flour until lightly coated evenly.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot or (preferably) a dutch oven. Sear the meat until it is just browned on all sides.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned lamb onto a plate and set aside.
- Add the onions, carrots, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes to the pot. Season with a little salt and pepper and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Pour in the red wine, and using the back of a wooden spoon scrape up as much of the brown bits in the bottom of the skillet as possible while allowing the red wine to reduce by half, about 2 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and stir while sauteing for 1 more minute.
- Add the can of tomatoes, the beef broth and the dried oregano and stir to combine. Using the back of a wooden spoon, press on the whole tomatoes to help them break a part a bit (they will continue to break apart while cooking, too).
- Add the browned lamb back into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let lightly simmer, covered, for about 2 hours, or until the meat is fall apart tender.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat onto a rimmed cooking sheet to shred (this will ensure you don't lose any good juices and sauce while you shred). Using two forks, mash and shred until the lamb is shredded. Add back into the sauce.
- Taste sauce and add salt and pepper, to taste, if needed.
- Cook Pasta according to package instructions.
- Ladle Ragu over individual bowls of pasta. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, grated parmesan, and crushed red pepper (if you please!)