Lamb shoulder ragù with paccheri rigati

This indulgent, mouth-watering Italian classic is perfect for those cosy autumnal or winter nights when you need a rich, warming meal and a fantastic glass of red wine. I love this recipe because, although it is a bit of a labor of love in terms of cooking time (three hours to be exact), there are practically no steps involved.

You just have to be patient, as it takes a long time for the flavors to grow and blossom as it bubbles away on the hob. Before you know it, your kitchen will be flooded with the smell of gorgeous lamb, sharp balsamic vinegar and aromatic rosemary. I would recommend cooking this dish the night before, whilst you do the ironing or other mind-numbing domestic tasks, the serve it up the next evening for a luxurious wine-filled supper with friends.

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4-6)

  • 500g of lamb shoulder in cubes (preferably not too fatty)

  • 360g of paccheri rigati /papperdelle

  • A healthy slosh (about 150ml) of red wine

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 small handful of rosemary leaves

  • 4 anchovy fillets in olive oil

  • 150ml of balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tbsp of plain flour

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 500ml of chicken stock

  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

  • salt and pepper

You will need a casserole dish and a food processor for this recipe.


  1. Place the anchovies, rosemary and balsamic vinegar in the food processor and blitz until smooth, don't worry if some of the rosemary leaves are still somewhat whole, then place in a bowl and set aside..

  2. Season the raw lamb with a generous amount of salt and pepper, then cover with the flour.

  3. Drizzle the casserole dish with the oil and add the cubes of lamb dusted in flour, cook the lamb stirring often on a medium heat until brown and golden, and no longer visibly pink on the outside (this may take 10-15 mins). Then remove the lamb from the casserole dish and place in a bowl at the side.

  4. Turn up the heat and add the wine to the casserole dish.

  5. Add the lamb back into the dish along with the ingredients you blitzed in the food processor then add the 500ml of chicken stock and the bay leaves. Season with plenty of pepper.

  6. Simmer gently for 3 hours, you may need to occasionally check on it to make sure there is enough liquid. I would recommend just adding boiling water if there is not enough sauce or if a skin develops, adding more stock will make the ragù overly salty.

  7. After three hours the ragù should be thick and the meat tender enough that it will naturally break up into threads. You can use a wooden spoon to break it up more if you like, as chunky pieces of meat will be more difficult to eat with the pasta.

  8. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet and serve with a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Best eaten with red wine, in front of a roaring fire.

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