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.


  • 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



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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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