The Best Lamb Ragu Pappardelle Pasta

Rich and meaty, the flavors of this succulent and aromatic lamb ragu are the perfect complement to wide pasta noodles. So good! And this slow-cooked lamb shoulder is also delicious as a pulled lamb sandwich for a special  lunch or brunch. We love to make this dish, because we have hours to enjoy the amazing aroma as it cooks until perfectly “fall off the bone” tender. The lamb shoulder is seasoned with cumin, salt and pepper, and then braised for five hours with fresh jalapenos, shallots, and garlic. 

The lamb is really easy to prepare. You simply season it and add some chopped jalapeno, garlic, and shallots, add enough water to cover the meat and then tightly cover it with foil . Slow cook it for five hours at 285 F. What we love about this dish is how well it lends itself to so many ways of serving it. We’ve served it in a hoagie roll with pickled onions, over naan with feta cheese, and most recently with this beautiful pappardelle.

The nice thing about this dish is that you can prepare the lamb and gravy ahead of time and freeze them either together or separately until you’re ready to serve it. We like to make the sauce right when we shred the meat, but you can also save the braising liquid in the freezer and make the sauce at a later time. Any amount of work you can do ahead, always makes it easier when you go to get dinner ready. We have not frozen the entire ragu yet, i.e. the meat with the sauce, but you can most likely do that too and then just reheat the whole thing in a sauce pan before assembling the pasta or sandwiches.

If you are inclined to make your own pasta and have a pappardelle attachment to your pasta maker, we have a great egg pasta recipe. It takes a few times to really get the hang of making homemade pasta, but it is so worth it! If you have any questions … please don’t hesitate to leave us a message!

We also love to serve this lamb ragu over naan and top it with either feta cheese or Boursin cheese. Then toast it in the oven until the cheese begins to brown and the sandwich is hot. Delish!!!

The Best Lamb Ragu Pappardelle Pasta

Slowly braised lamb shoulder with jalapenos, shallots, garlic and cumin, is "fall off the bone" tender and delicious tossed with pappardelle or in between slices of your favorite bread.
Servings 4 Servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Making the gravy and assembling the pasta 40 minutes


Braised Lamb Shoulder

  • 3 lbs. lamb shoulder at our meat market, the shoulder chops are about 3/4 to 1 pound and we use three of them.
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 shallots, sliced or chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Ragu Gravy

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 cups cooking broth from lamb, fat skimmed off the top
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese – optional, for garnish but really delicious with the lamb ragu!
  • 2 tbsp. minced parsley

Pappardelle Pasta

  • 12 oz. dried pappardelle or equivalent in homemade pasta


Braised Lamb Shoulder

  • Preheat oven to 285° F. Spray the bottom of a casserole dish that will hold 3 lamb shoulder chops.
  • Place sliced garlic, shallots, onions, and jalapeno in the bottom of the casserole dish.
  • Season both sides of the lamb shoulder chops with salt and cumin. Place them in the casserole dish right on top of the veggies.
  • Fill the dish with water, just enough to cover the meat. Wrap the dish tightly in foil.
  • Bake for about 5 hours, or until the meat is done and falls off the bone. Remove from oven and cool. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight until the fat has congealed.
  • Once completely cold, remove the lamb from the refrigerator, and skim off as much of the fat as possible. Transfer the lamb chops out of the braising liquid to a cutting board. Reserve all of the liquid.
  • Using two forks, shred the lamb and discard any bones and any extra congealed fat leftover. The meat can be prepared to this point and frozen or refrigerated for several days ahead of time.

Ragu Gravy

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add shallots along with the herbs and spices and cook over medium-low heat until the shallots are translucent.
  • Slowly whisk in the red wine and cook until reduced by half.
  • Add the reserved braising liquid along with any of the veggies in the broth. Whisk well and bring to a boil. Add shredded lamb and stir well. Reduce heat to low while you cook the pasta.
  • Cook your pasta to al dente and toss with lamb ragu. Garnish with grated Parmesan, finely snipped parsley and feta cheese (optional.) Serve hot!
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If you enjoy trying new things, you might love making your own pasta. We use the Atlas Marcato 150 hand crank pasta maker. It’s super easy to use and you can buy all sorts of attachments, like pappardelle or ravioli, malfadine or even reginette. The maker comes with a dual capellini/fettucine attachment. 
Course: Main Course
Keyword: braised lamb shoulder, lamb ragu pappardelle, Lamb rague, pappardelle pasta

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