Spring Lamb Ragu

➡️ Ever cooked a spring lamb ragu? I guess 99% of you will answer with no because it is a rare recipe for cooking lamb. Some probably even don’t know what a ragu is, so here’s a short definition: “In Italian cuisine, ragù is a meat-based sauce that is commonly served with pasta. An Italian gastronomic society, Accademia Italiana della Cucina, documented several ragù recipes. The recipes’ common characteristics are the presence of meat and the fact that all sauces are for pasta. The most typical is ragù alla bolognese (Bolognese sauce). Other types are ragù alla Napoletana (Neapolitan ragù), and ragù alla Barese (Bari ragù, sometimes made with horse meat).”(Ragù)

➡️ Regarding the varieties of this typical Italian dish, on the same page of Wikipedia is written that “the meats may include one or more of beef, chicken, pork, duck, goose, lamb, mutton, veal, or game, including their offal.” So, spring lamb is just perfect to cook lamb ragu in its most authentic way!

➡️ Remember that the spring lamb season ends at the end of June, so it’s enough time to cook this food that will definitely turn into a memorable culinary experience! Just give it a try and you won’t regret it at all!

➡️ Italian lamb ragu is a traditional Italian dish that is perfect for any season. This hearty and satisfying spring lamb ragu is made by slowly cooking spring lamb in a rich tomato sauce with vegetables and fragrant herbs. The result is a tender, succulent meat that is bursting with flavor. Served over fettuccine pasta, this dish is a true hit that is perfect for entertaining or a cozy night in.

➡️ The secret to making the perfect spring lamb ragu is to take your time and let the flavors develop. The lamb should be browned until it is golden and crispy, then slowly cooked with onions, carrots, and celery until it becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender. A splash of red wine adds depth and complexity to the dish, while the tomato sauce, infused with garlic and thyme, creates a rich and savory base.

➡️ When it comes to serving, this spring lamb ragu is incredibly versatile. You can serve it over fettuccine pasta, as tradition dictates, or try it with other types of pasta such as spaghetti or pappardelle. Alternatively, you can use the ragu as a filling for lasagna or cannelloni. For a heartier meal, serve it over creamy polenta or crusty bread.

➡️ This Italian spring lamb ragu is a perfect dish to serve for a special occasion or a comforting family dinner. The combination of tender lamb and rich tomato sauce makes it a real hit that is sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.

If you’re ready to experience the taste of delicious Italian recipes, look no further than the “Discovering Italian Cuisine: A Delightful Culinary Tour of Italian Recipes” cookbook.

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How to Make Italian Lamb Ragu at Home

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Spring Lamb Ragu

Italian Lamb Ragu

Italian lamb ragu is a classic Italian dish that is perfect for any special occasion or just a comforting weeknight dinner. The lamb is slow-cooked in a rich tomato sauce with fragrant herbs and vegetables, resulting in a deeply flavorful and tender meat that pairs perfectly with fettuccine pasta. This dish is hearty and satisfying, making it perfect for a cozy dinner with loved ones.
The key to making a delicious spring lamb ragu is using quality ingredients and taking your time to let the flavors meld together. The spring lamb is the star of the dish, so it's important to choose a high-quality cut with good marbling. The red wine and aromatic vegetables, such as carrots and onion, add depth of flavor and a subtle sweetness to the dish. The tomato sauce, infused with garlic and thyme, creates a rich base that ties everything together.
When it comes to serving, this lamb ragu is versatile and can be enjoyed in many ways. Serve it over a bed of fettuccine pasta for a classic Italian meal, or use it as a filling for lasagna or cannelloni. You can also serve it over polenta or crusty bread for a heartier meal. No matter how you choose to enjoy it, this Italian lamb ragu is sure to impress your family and friends.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings


  • 2 lbs spring lamb, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cans (28 oz. each) diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb fettuccine pasta
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the lamb pieces and brown them on all sides, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Remove the lamb pieces from the pot and set them aside.
  • Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pot and sauté them until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste to the pot and stir it in with the vegetables.
  • Pour in the red wine and let it simmer for a few minutes until it has reduced by half.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper to the pot. Stir everything together.
  • Add the browned lamb pieces back into the pot and stir them into the sauce.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and let the sauce simmer on low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • While the sauce is simmering, cook the fettuccine pasta in a separate pot according to the package instructions.
  • Drain the pasta and toss it with a little bit of olive oil to prevent it from sticking together.
  • Serve the pasta in bowls, topped with the lamb ragu and grated Parmesan cheese (if used.)


Cooking Tips:
  1. Use a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven for the best results. This will help distribute the heat evenly and prevent the bottom from burning.
  2. Make sure to brown the lamb pieces well before removing them from the pot. This will give them a nice caramelized flavor and color.
  3. Use fresh thyme leaves if possible. They have a more intense and aromatic flavor than dried thyme. You can replace them with rosemary if you like it more.
  4. Taste the sauce as it cooks and adjust the seasoning as needed. You may need to add more salt, pepper, or other herbs to balance the flavors.
  5. Letting the sauce simmer for at least 2 hours will help the flavors develop and intensify. If you have more time, you can let it simmer for even longer for an even richer sauce.
Keyword Italian lamb ragu, Italian lamb recipe, lamb ragu, spring lamb ragu

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Cooking Spring Lamb Ragu is Simple!

➡️ When you cook spring lamb ragu, you need some time because ragu is a hearty meat and vegetable sauce that is cooked slowly over low heat. Generally speaking, it’s made by boiling the meat in a small amount of water and then thickening it with tomatoes, stock, wine, and a variety of herbs and spices. Ragu is traditionally served with pasta, but today it’s also a popular sauce with rice.

➡️ Most often, I cook ragu with beef (or with mushrooms, watch the video) throughout the year because the spring lamb season is pretty short. Needless to say, I can’t wait to cook this food in the spring, but I prefer to do it starting in May because the lambs have time to grow and become more fleshy. Also, I recommend using some red wine in your spring lamb ragu recipe in order to turn your culinary adventure into a memorable saga!

➡️ Making a ragu is also a great way to get the kids involved in the kitchen and pass on your culinary skills. It’s also a fantastic method to use up all your odds and ends of lamb, and it’s a dish that’s easy to whip up in a flash. The key to this Italian food is to cook the meat and the vegetables in large batches at the same time, using a slow cooker or a large Dutch oven to ensure that everything cooks at the same rate.

➡️ You can use any type of lamb for ragu, but I prefer shoulder, leg, or neck. This is one of the best ways to make your ragu flavorful!

➡️ I also recommend you to cook more flavorful lamb recipes available on this website such as slow-cooked leg of lamb with tomato sauce, fried lamb liver and onions, spring lamb meat schnitzel, Moroccan leg of lamb roast, Hungarian lamb soup, Hungarian lamb paprikash, Greek roast leg of lamb with red wine, Greek roast lamb, Greek lamb soup AVGOLEMONO, lamb chops in the pan, roast spring lamb, and French roast lamb shoulder. Many more lamb recipes are available in my cookbook Cooking Lamb: A Delicious Lamb Recipes Cookbook.

FAQs about Cooking Spring Lamb Ragu

What is spring lamb ragu?

Spring lamb ragu is a flavorful Italian dish made with tender cuts of lamb slow-cooked in a rich and aromatic tomato-based sauce. It is typically served over pasta or polenta and is a delicious way to enjoy the flavors of spring.

How do I make spring lamb ragu?

To make spring lamb ragu, start by browning the lamb in a large pot or Dutch oven. Then, add onions, garlic, and herbs like rosemary and thyme for added flavor. Pour in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and a splash of red wine. Let the ragu simmer on low heat for a few hours until the lamb is tender and the flavors have melded together.

What can I serve with spring lamb ragu?

Spring lamb ragu pairs well with various side dishes. Traditional options include serving it over pasta such as pappardelle or tagliatelle, or you can serve it with creamy polenta or crusty bread. Additionally, a fresh green salad or steamed vegetables make great accompaniments to balance the richness of the ragu.

Can I make spring lamb ragu in advance?

Yes, you can make spring lamb ragu in advance. In fact, the flavors often deepen and develop further when the ragu is allowed to sit overnight. Once cooked, let the ragu cool completely, then refrigerate it in an airtight container. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the oven before serving.

Are there any variations of spring lamb ragu?

Yes, there are variations of spring lamb ragu based on personal preferences and regional influences. Some recipes may include additional ingredients like carrots, celery, or pancetta for added depth of flavor. Others may incorporate herbs like mint or basil for a fresh twist. Feel free to experiment and customize the recipe to suit your taste.

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