7 cities. 54 chefs. It's Lamb Jam Restaurant Month.
Learn More
December 14, 2020

Slowly Braised American Lamb Ragu with Gnocchi


Recipe Provided By
"Plays Well With Butter"
Prep Time

15 min

Cook Time

3 hrs

Total Time

3 hrs 15 min


4 to 6

Slowly Braised American Lamb Ragu with Gnocchi


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1-1/2 pounds American Lamb shoulder, excess fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef stock
  • 8 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional
  • Gnocchi or pasta of choice
  • Grated parmesan, fresh basil or parsley for garnish


In a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil. Using a paper towel, pat American Lamb as dry as possible; season generously with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Working in batches, add lamb to Dutch oven; cook until deeply browned on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan, it prevents browning. Transfer lamb to a plate; set aside. 

Reduce heat to medium. Add carrots, celery, and onion to Dutch oven; season with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and deeply caramelized, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add garlic; cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomato paste, stirring to combine; cook for another 1 to 2 minutes to caramelize. 

Slowly pour wine into the Dutch oven; use a wooden spoon to scrape up browned bits that have formed at the bottom. Let the wine reduce by about half; add tomatoes, stock, thyme, bay leaves, and rosemary. (Tip: Use kitchen twine to tie herbs into a bundle for easy removal.) Return lamb to Dutch oven. 

Cover Dutch oven; braise in a 325°F oven for 2 to 2-1/2 hours. When ready, lamb should shred very easily. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Remove herbs; shred lamb into ragu. Stir to combine. 

Cook gnocchi or pasta according to package directions.

In a small skillet over medium-high heat, add about 1/2 cup ragu per serving. Drizzle in heavy cream, about 1 tablespoon per serving; stir to combine. Add in cooked gnocchi or pasta; toss to combine. Cook 1 to 2 minutes to blend. Serve immediately, sprinkled with grated parmesan and fresh herbs, as desired.

USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

Slowly Braised American Lamb Ragu with Gnocchi
Slowly Braised American Lamb Ragu with Gnocchi
thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *