Make Ahead

Lamb and Shiitake Mushroom Ragu

July  1, 2009
5 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

This is an adaptation of my favorite bolognese sauce by Marcella Hazan. There is no better pairing than lamb and rosemary! —Nancy Jo

Test Kitchen Notes

The shiitakes infuse the ragu and your kitchen with a pleasant aroma of wood and earth. Lamb and shiitakes are a lovely and unexpected flavor combination for a sauce, but we think it's the white wine that makes this dish. Red wine, the typical braising liquid for lamb, would have made the sauce seem overwrought and heavy. White wine adds the right acidity and keeps the other flavors nimble yet pronounced. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and finely sliced
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 pound ground lamb
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 28 ounces can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 pound short pasta like penne rigate
  • freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano
  1. In a medium, heavy saucepan or braising pan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, adjusting heat so the onion doesn't burn. Add the carrot, celery, mushrooms and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are tender, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add the lamb, breaking up the pieces with a spoon, and cook through. Add the wine and cook at a rapid simmer until the liquid is nearly gone, about20 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chopping them with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer gently until the sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes.
  3. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, return the pan and stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter. Stir in the lamb ragu. Divide among 4 large, shallow bowls, and sprinkle with cheese and pepper.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • MissEliz
  • dreonrice
  • Elysse
  • chefpaka

5 Reviews

Elysse December 23, 2013
Excellent recipe! I didn't have any carrots or celery, so I used a whole onion and it was delicious. We devoured this and will be making it again soon! I used about 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary, which felt like a good amount.
MissEliz October 8, 2012
This recipe is incredible. I made it for my boyfriend and he was blown away...and not hard to execute! It sounds much fancier than it is, and is absolutely delicious.
chefpaka September 23, 2012
I made this last weekend with friends and everyone loved it! I served it with fresh homemade pappardelle pasta and a glass of red wine. I will try adding garlic and crushed red pepper next time.
dreonrice January 16, 2012
Hi, thanks for sharing the recipe! How much rosemary should one add? Seems to be missing from the recipe. Also, does anyone have some thoughts on why there is no garlic in the recipe? I typically use another lamb ragu recipe that calls for a ton of garlic, so I'm wondering why it's missing here. Is mirepoix usually not accompanied with garlic? Or is it the shitake mushrooms? Hope to hear what people think!
ellbell June 30, 2010
I've made this recipe twice now and absolutely love it! It's especially good for leftovers right on top of grilled polenta.