*This post was sponsored by the American Lamb Board. All opinions are my own. I only support and promote brands that I believe in and use in my own kitchen – I hope you’ll check them out! Thank you for supporting the brands that make Well Seasoned possible.
What is ragu?
Simply put, ragu is a meat sauce with tomatoes and aromatics. You can use any ground meat you like — beef, pork, or veal work great — but my go-to is always ground lamb. The lamb adds such a lovely earthiness to the marinara, and pairs beautifully with fresh, vibrant mint and cool, creamy ricotta.
Interested in making your own homemade ricotta? It couldn’t be easier! Check out our guide with step-by-step photos – you will not regret it!
- High quality American grown lamb
- Yellow or sweet onion
- Red wine
- Homemade or store-bought marinara sauce
- Fresh ricotta cheese
- Fresh Mint
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Your favorite pasta (I recommend tagliatelle or other long flat noodles here)
How to make ragu
First, sauté your aromatics in a large skillet over medium-high heat: shallots, onion, and garlic. Once translucent, turn the heat up a bit and add ground lamb, kosher salt, and black pepper. Cook until lamb is browned on all sides.
Add red wine to deglaze the pan, then cook for 1-2 minutes at a rapid boil to reduce the wine. Pour in 24 oz of your favorite store-bought or homemade marinara sauce, then turn the heat down to a simmer.
Just before serving, add freshly chopped mint leaves and ricotta cheese. Stir to combine, then serve piping hot over your favorite pasta. This really is incredibly quick to make. This is the best lamb ragu, and a recipe our family has been enjoying for over a decade!
What to serve with it
This is such a quick and simple weeknight dinner, we often just serve it over pasta or zucchini noodles with a salad on the side. Something like this Little Green Salad would be perfect. A glass of red wine doesn’t hurt, either!
If you’re craving a veggie on the side, our go-to roasted broccolini is a fan favorite every single night of the week!
Most meat sauces are absolutely able to be frozen, and this ragu is no exception!
To freeze: cook according to instructions below, allow to cool completely to room temperature, then store in an airtight, freezer-safe container for u to 3 months.
To defrost: allow container to thaw overnight in a refrigerator for 6-8 hours. Heat on a stovetop or skillet, then add pasta directly to the pan.
Meat sauces often taste better the next day!
So… if you’ve got time, prep this on a lazy Sunday afternoon, then enjoy for dinner the rest of the week!
Is this recipe gluten-free?
The sauce is gluten-free — hooray! As long as you serve the ragu over gluten-free noodles, you’re good to go. While I adore pasta — could legit eat it every day — we often serve this over zoodles to lighten it up. It’s all about the sauce, so trust me when I say you won’t miss the pasta.
If you make this Lamb and Mint Ragu, please let me know by leaving a rating and review below!
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For more simple weeknight dinners, check out the following recipes:
Lamb and Mint Ragu
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion about ½ cup
- 2 shallots about ¼ cup
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ lb ground American lamb
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb tagliatelle or other long flat pasta
- 24 oz marinara sauce store-bought or homemade
- 1 cup red wine
- ½ cup ricotta
- ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped, plus more for serving
- freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, deep skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and shallot and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, stir, then cook 30 seconds longer.
- Add ground lamb to the skillet, then season with kosher salt and black pepper. Use a wooden spoon to break lamb apart. Cook until browned on all sides, about 5-7 minutes.
- Pour in red wine, then scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook at a rapid boil until wine reduces by half, about 2 minutes. Add marinara sauce, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
- When water is boiling, add tagliatelle (or other pasta) and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain pasta and set aside.
- Return to ragu and add fresh ricotta cheese and chopped mint leaves. Stir to combine, taste, then adjust seasoning as needed. Simmer until ready to serve! You can either pour spoonfuls of lamb ragu over noodles or add the cooked pasta directly to the pot of ragu, then toss to coat. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and additional chopped mint, as desired.
- Take this sauce over the top by making ricotta cheese at home! Trust us, it’s SO easy and so much better than store bought!
- Sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months.