Winter is still lingering around and the post-festive melancholy has pushed us to prepare tagliatelle with ragu sauce, which we consider the ultimate comfort food. Yes, this time we went with a classic italian dish – the famous ragu. And just because we have to stand out in some way, we made it with lamb instead of the regular beef and pork mixture!
Ragu is a meat-based sauce from Italy that is most commonly served with – you guessed it – pasta! There are numerous regional varieties of this dish throughout Italy, but they all share a common theme – they have to be cooked slowly and gently. The meat has to fall apart by the slightest touch of the fork and the flavours have to be deeply intertwined. Most importantly, the dish has to have a deep and well rounded flavour. And that takes time! So settle in and see how it’s made.
Check out our video recipe for this wonderful ragu sauce to get the feel for what’s comming up!
Ok, looks like you have a feel for what’s going on. Ready to cook?
Our ragu starts with a lamb shoulder
High quality ingredients are the foundation for a high quality dish. We started by deboning and trimming the delicate lamb shoulder. Don’t worry about wasting anything. The bone and trimmings, along with some onions and celery, are just perfect for making stock, which you can use later for your sauce.
Cutting meat into pieces and making the base of the sauce
We cut the meat into small pieces and seared them on a hot pan untill beautyfully browned on all sides. We proceeded to remove the meat from the pan after salting it lightly.
The empty pan was now ready for the soffritto (italian word for a mix of chopped onion, carrots and celery in a 2:1:1 ratio). Roast the vegetables slowly and when they start to caramelize, it’s time to pour in your white wine to deglaze the pan of all the stuck caramelized pieces.
Reduce the wine to the point where it’s almost completely evaporated and transfer it into a larger pot along with the lamb meat. Add some garlic, bay leaves, a decent amount of pepper, parsley and coriander.
Add some additional seasoning if you deem it necessary and then pour in some high quality canned peeled tomatoes and stock, which we prepared from the leftover bones. Wait until it comes close to a boil, then turn the heat down and cook very, very slowly.
Ragu sauce needs a lot of time to develop the deep and soft flavour
This is where the magic happens. Slowly breaking down the proteins, the fat begins melting and breaking down the meat along the way. All the flavour starts to tie in together and the sauce gets thicker, tastier and overall more full-bodied. Therefore you should never try to rush this part. Slow and gentle cooking is essential fort his dish. All aboard the low&slow train, next station flavour town!
Time is an essential ingredient of this dish and it will require some patience. Ragu sauce will tipically cook for about 3 hours. Cooking time will vary depending on the cut and type of meat we use. For example a beef chuck needs to be cooked for much longer than a pork shoulder.
How do we know our lamb meat sauce it’s ready?
Finding out when your ragu is done, is actually really easy. If the meat falls apart at a gentle push of the fork and the sauce has a thick consistency, your ragu sauce is ready to be enjoyed. Now you only have to checked if it’s seasoned properly and you are ready to serve. We chose to serve with tagilatelle cooked to »al dente« in salted boiling water. You can choose any type of pasta you like. We recommend a kind with a large surface area like tagliatelle, so the pieces of meat and sauce will have something to stick to. This will make your dish easier to enjoy and incredibly delicious.
That is it! We made one of the most iconic italian dishes. Warm and silky pasta with a thick, meaty sauce that tastes like home and love. Exactly what we need right now.
If you are looking for more recipes with lamb, check out our Lamb čevapi recipe. Or maybe take a look at our Tagliatelle with clams, if pasta and seafood is what gets you excited. Either way, cook a little something!