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Slow-Braised Lamb Ragù With Rigatoni and Whipped Ricotta


Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Total Cooking Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes

Serving: 6 servings


1 (2-pound) boneless lamb shoulder roast, halved 
2½ teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
⅓ cup water
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1½ pounds dried rigatoni
1 tablespoon minced rosemary
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

 Whipped Ricotta
1 cup whole-milk ricotta
½ cup whole milk
½ cup packed freshly grated Pecorino
Romano cheese
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt


Step 1

Season the lamb on all sides with 2 teaspoons of the salt. Warm a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Add the oil, and when you just begin to see wisps of smoke, add the lamb.
Sear on all sides until a deep brown crust forms, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a plate and set aside.


Step 2

Add the onion to the pot and cook until iust softened and lightly browned, adjusting the heat as needed, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring almost constantly, until it darkens slightly and a deep brown crust forms on the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pot.
Stir in the tomatoes, water, ¼ cup of the oregano, the garlic, red pepper flakes, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Nestle the seared lamb back into the pot and bring to a rapid simmer. Decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover, and braise until the lamb is tender and easily shreds apart, about 2 hours.


Step 3

Remove the lamb from the sauce and shred it into bite-size pieces using two forks. Return the shredded lamb to the sauce. (It will be quite thick now, but will be thinned with pasta water later.)
Taste and adjust the seasoning. At this point the ragù can be cooled to room temperature, then covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving.)
Return the ragù to a gentle simmer and keep it warm over low heat.


Step 4

Cook the rigatoni in boiling salted water until al dente according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 2 cups of the cooking water, and return the rigatoni to its pot.


Step 5

Stir some of the cooking water into the ragù to loosen it and add the remaining 2 tablespoons oregano, the rosemary, and vinegar. Add a few ladlefuls of the ragù to the pot of rigatoni to lightly coat.
Place the rigatoni pot over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, to allow the pasta to absorb some of the sauce, about 2 minutes.


Step 6 

To make the whipped ricotta: In a medium bowl, whisk the ricotta with the milk, cheese, pepper, and salt until it is loose and creamy, about 30 seconds.

Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.


Step 7

Serve the rigatoni in warm bowls, with a ladleful of the ragù spooned over each portion. Top with the whipped ricotta and a drizzle of oil.



Recommended Wine Pairing:

We recommend pairing the recipe with: 


Barolo Paesi Tuoi 2017 Red Wine

The Barolo Paesi Tuoi of the Vite Colte winery was born in the renowned Langhe area of Piedmont.It is produced from 100% Nebbiolo grapes, harvested and selected entirely by hand.


Nero D'Avola A Zita Cu Zitu Organic 2019 Red Wine

Discover the intensity of Sicily in every sip of Nero d'Avola A Zita Cu Zitu Organic Red Wine. Each bottle is crafted from organically cultivated Nero d'Avola grapes, providing bold flavors of cherries and blackberry jam. Elevate your next meal with a glass of this award-winning Italian red wine.


Heracles 2019 Red Wine

Unlock a world of layered complexity with Heracles 2019 Red Wine, made from the finest Primitivo grapes from the iconic Salento region in Italy. This exquisite vintage features a smooth, rich flavour and an aroma of spices, making it the ideal choice for any special occasion. 

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