Lamb Bolognese

Course: Dinner, Main Course


  • 2-3 pounds ground lamb
  • 1/2 pound mortadella finely minced in food processor
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion finely diced
  • 1 large carrot peeled and medium diced
  • 1 rib celery finely diced
  • 1 Tbl chopped parsley
  • 1 sprig oregano
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 tsp pepper Aleppo (harissa, calabrain, kashmiri)
  • 11/2 Tbl kosher salt
  • 2 Tbl tomato paste
  • 1 qt strong beef stock or broth lamb if you have it
  • 1 Tbl mint leaves diced
  • 1/4 cup Ricotta Salata can substitute pecorino or aged goat parmesan


  • Heat a large rondeau with olive oil over high heat. Working in batches, fry the lamb and mortadella until lightly caramelized. Scoop out each batch and drain in a small colander.
  • After the last batch of meat is browned, add onion, garlic, and celery and cook for about 2 minutes. Add all herbs (except parsley and mint) and tomato paste. Stir paste into onion mixture and let cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Finally, add the browned meat back into the braising pan. stir well to incorporate then add beef broth. Simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes.
  • Add the diced carrots and parsley after 40 minutes and let simmer until the carrots are soft (another 30 minutes or so).
  • The small leaves of oregano and thyme will have fallen off the stems during the cooking phase, pick out the stems and discard before serving. The Bolognese is ready!
  • To serve, cook your favorite noodles al dente and toss with lamb bolognese. Add a small pad of butter to the finished pasta and finally add half the diced mint. Check and adjust the seasoning with more salt if needed.
  • Divide the pasta between bowls or serve on a large platter. Garnish with remaining diced mint, a drizzle of excellent quality olive oil and sprinkle with a good strong hard grating cheese. Serve immediately.


By Chef Michael Smith