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How to Make Lamb Bolognese Sauce

Hello, welcome to Sunday Supper! Today we have Lamb Bolognese with Bucatini. Inspired by the Ingredient Spotlight on Italian Pasta and my thoughts on alternative, yet no less special, Thanksgiving dinner ideas. This slowly simmered sauce filled my kitchen with its comforting aroma, making the final dish such a special treat. Perfect for a Sunday Supper or an untraditional Thanksgiving dinner – This is How to Make Lamb Bolognese Sauce.

Lamb Bolognese with Bucatini

Coupla things: 1) you can make this Bolognese with all beef; a mix of pork and beef; or a mix of lamb and beef. 2) Traditionally, this sauce is served with a pasta shape like Pappardelle or Tagliatelle; sometimes with Rigatoni. I went for Bucatini because I wanted to, and in America, Spaghetti and meat sauce is an Italian American classic. My point here is, go with what you like!

The Prep

Lamb Bolognese ingredients

Soffritto

We will start with a Soffritto, the Italian version of a French Mirepoix – finely diced celery, carrot and onion. The base for so many soups, sauces and stews. To that we will add garlic, and go from there.

Over medium heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil to a dutch oven. When the butter is melted, add the carrots, onion, and celery. Season with Kosher salt and pepper. Cook while stirring occasionally until the soffritto has softened, then add the chopped garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds more, until the garlic is fragrant. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked soffritto to a separate bowl.

Still over medium heat, add the diced pancetta to the dutch oven. Add a drizzle of olive oil if the pot is dry. Cook, stirring occasionally until the pancetta is browned. Use the slotted spoon to transfer the browned pancetta to the bowl with the soffritto.

Browned pancetta and soffritto

Ground Lamb

I have two pounds of ground lamb. Over medium heat, add the ground meat to the dutch oven. You want to break up the ground meat into small pieces, but also don’t over-stir it. We want to let the meat get browned and develop a nice fond on the bottom of the pot. Season the meat with Kosher salt and black pepper.

Once the meat is browned, add the soffritto and pancetta back to the pot with the browned meat. Give it a stir to incorporate, then add the dry white wine to the mix. Stir, scraping up and fond on the bottom of the pot.

Let the wine cook down for about 5 minutes, when it’s mostly reduced, add the crushed tomatoes and their juice to the Dutch oven. Give this a good stir and then add the milk and the nutmeg.

A Long, Slow Simmer

Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to keep it at a simmer. Season with more Kosher salt and black pepper. Then cover the pot and set the timer for 3 hours. Stir the sauce every 20 minutes or half hour. Then, at the two hour mark, remove the lid and let it simmer uncovered for the last hour.

Halfway through the last hour, start a large pot with 4 quarts of water to boil. Once boiling, add the 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt. Let the water come back to a boil and add the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, add chopped parsley and grated Parmesan to the Lamb Bolognese. Stir to incorporate and turn the heat off the sauce. Taste the sauce and add more Kosher salt and pepper if needed.

Cook the pasta to just shy of al dente, about 9 minutes. Then use kitchen tongs to transfer the cooked pasta to the Dutch oven with the sauce. Use the tongs to toss the pasta in the sauce.

Lamb Bolognese with Bucatini

Top each portion with fresh grated Parmesan and chopped or torn parsley leaves. Serve with a green salad and garlic bread, and you’ve got a very special Sunday Supper!

Lamb Bolognese with Bucatini

This Lamb Bolognese is a rich and hearty sauce. Deeply flavored during its long, slow simmer; the lamb gives this sauce a very meat-forward flavor which, to me, is why this sauce feels so special. I like the idea of this dish as a Thanksgiving Dinner alternative because it’s a long cook, creating hours of enticing aroma in the kitchen, which is an important part of preparing a feast.

I do hope you give this Lamb Bolognese a try! If you’re not a big lamb fan, or haven’t had it much, this is a great way to ease into it. Be sure to Pin this recipe on Pinterest, too! Take care and be well everyone! xo Kelly

Lamb Bolognese with Bucatini

Lamb Bolognese with Bucatini

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Dinner, Main Course Italian
By Kelly Djalali Serves: 4-8
Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cooking Time: 3.5 Hours Total Time: ~4 Hours

Lamb Bolognese is a rich and hearty sauce. Deeply flavored during a long, slow simmer; the lamb gives this sauce a very meat-forward flavor.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. Butter
  • 1-2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Finely Diced Celery (about 4 ribs)
  • 1 cup Finely Diced Carrot (about 3 medium/large carrots)
  • 1 cup Finely Diced Onion (about 1 medium, or 3/4 large onion)
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper to taste
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 4 oz. Pancetta, diced
  • 2 lbs. Ground Lamb (or 1 pound each, beef and pork)
  • 1 cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 28-oz. can of whole, peeled San Marzano Tomatoes, hand crushed
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Parsley, plus more for topping

Instructions

1

Over medium heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil to a dutch oven.

2

Add the carrots, onion, and celery. Season with Kosher salt and pepper. Cook while stirring occasionally until the soffritto has softened, then add the chopped garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds more, until the garlic is fragrant. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked soffritto to a separate bowl.

3

Still over medium heat, add the diced pancetta to the dutch oven. Add a drizzle of olive oil if the pot is dry. Cook, stirring occasionally until the pancetta is browned. Use the slotted spoon to transfer the browned pancetta to the bowl with the soffritto.

4

Over medium heat, add the ground meat to the dutch oven. Break up the ground meat into small pieces as it cooks, but let the meat get browned and develop a nice fond on the bottom of the pot. Season the meat with Kosher salt and black pepper.

5

Once the meat is browned, add the soffritto and pancetta back to the pot with the browned meat. Give it a stir to incorporate, then add the dry white wine. Stir, scraping up and fond on the bottom of the pot.

6

Let the wine cook down for about 5 minutes. When it's mostly reduced, add the crushed tomatoes and their juice to the Dutch oven. Give this a good stir and then add the milk and the nutmeg.

7

Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to keep it at a simmer. Season with more Kosher salt and black pepper. Then cover the pot and set the timer for 3 hours. Stir the sauce every 20 minutes or half hour. Then, at the two hour mark, remove the lid and let it simmer uncovered for the last hour.

8

Halfway through the last hour, start a large pot with 4 quarts of water to boil. Once boiling, add 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt. Let the water come back to a boil and add the pasta.

9

While the pasta is cooking, add chopped parsley and grated Parmesan to the Lamb Bolognese. Stir to incorporate and turn the heat off the sauce. Taste the sauce and add more Kosher salt and pepper if needed.

10

Cook the pasta to just shy of al dente, about 9 minutes. Then use kitchen tongs to transfer the cooked pasta to the Dutch oven with the sauce. Use the tongs to toss the pasta in the sauce.

11

Top each portion with fresh grated Parmesan and chopped or torn parsley leaves.

Lamb Bolognese with Bucatini

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  • Sally Burke
    November 21, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    Good morning Kelly, I am always happy to try a new bolognaise recipe, being a great lover of pasta… yours is the first I have seen with added milk, so I will be interested to taste the difference. I guess the sauce would end up being a lot creamier. Several years ago there was an article in a magazine I used to subscribe to had a complete section on “The Battle of the Bol” and all the different variances chefs cooked. Of course I chose the one that took the longest time to prepare before the long time of cooking. It did have a small amount of cream and also balsamic vinegar to finish it off.
    Happy cooking ?‍?
    Sally ?

    • Kelly Djalali
      November 22, 2021 at 7:41 am

      Hi Sally, The milk adds balance and body without being actually creamy. If you make this version, definitely let me know your thoughts! Have a beautiful day! Another plus, I think the prep isn’t too intensive ? xo Kelly