Lamb Bolognese

This hearty lamb bolognese is the perfect stick to your ribs winter dish. Full of spices, ground lamb and just a touch of rich red wine.

This hearty lamb bolognese is the perfect stick to your ribs winter dish. Full of spices, ground lamb and just a touch of rich red wine.

Disclosure: This recipe is sponsored by Anolon. I received financial compensation and free cookware to create this recipe. As always, all opinions and ramblings are my own.

Growing up I didn’t eat a lot of pasta. If we were lucky we would have the stuff maybe once a month. This wasn’t because I didn’t like it (what kid doesn’t like pasta?) it was because my dad has a serious dislike for all things Italian food. Of course growing up in Ohio, Italian food basically means spaghetti with meat sauce.

I’m sure there are some authentic Italian neighborhoods in Ohio but I can assure you there were none located Fremont, Ohio.

Although we do have a Heinz ketchup and a sauerkraut factory. So there is always that.

This hearty lamb bolognese is the perfect stick to your ribs winter dish. Full of spices, ground lamb and just a touch of rich red wine.

When I moved to New York I felt like I was thrown into a world of pasta. People at the stuff weekly. Shoot, most ate it daily. I went a little crazy on the stuff and craved it every single day for the few months. I would eat it with butter and Parmesan cheese, covered in homemade meat sauce and even topped with homemade chicken soup. I was basically the opposite of a Atkins diet.

I’m now back to a more healthy pasta consumption (maybe once or twice a month) and instead of boring old meat sauce I like to jazz things up with my pasta toppings. This lamb bolognese is like a meat sauce but 100% more flavorful. Instead of ground beef I opted to instead use ground lamb. It has a nice strong flavor that can hold up to the rich tomatoes and chewy red wine. Plus I don’t get a lot of chances to make lamb so I’m always looking for ways to bring it into my kitchen.

This hearty lamb bolognese is the perfect stick to your ribs winter dish. Full of spices, ground lamb and just a touch of rich red wine.

The hardest part about making this recipe is remembering to add in more water and having the patience to not eat it all right out of the pot. Plus it smells amazing while it’s cooking. It’s basically a savory version of a Yankee Candle.

I served mine over fresh pasta but it would be great over gnocchi as well.


Lamb Bolognese

This hearty lamb bolognese is the perfect stick to your ribs winter dish. Full of spices, ground lamb and just a touch of rich red wine.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes plus overnight cooling

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours 30minutes


  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 large carrots, fine dice
  • 2 celery stalks, fine dice
  • 1 yellow onion, fine dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound pasta, cooked (e.g. fettuccine, linguine, etc.)
  • Parmesan cheese, for topping


In a large skillet over medium heat, add ground lamb and start to brown. After the mixture is about half browned, add in carrots, celery and onions. Cook until the vegetables just start to soften and the meat is fully browned.

Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

To deglaze the pan, pour in red wine and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
Cook for about 5 minutes to cook down a little of the red wine.

Add in tomatoes and break apart in the pan.

Add in thyme, tomato paste and 2 cups water. Mix together until combined and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer on low heat until the mixture has cooked down and is thick. Add in remaining 2 cups water, repeat process. This in total should take around 2-3 hours.

Add in milk and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 minutes until thick and delicious.

Keep sauce warm while pasta cooks. Serve atop fresh pasta with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

26 Responses to “Lamb Bolognese”

  1. #
    Crystal | Apples & Sparkle — December 11, 2014 at 1:23 am

    Gorgeous photos! I love lamb, this sounds so delicious! : )

  2. #
    Carrie — December 11, 2014 at 7:59 am

    This looks so darned good, I don’t cook with lamb often enough.

  3. #
    Vijay @ NoshOnIt — December 11, 2014 at 8:07 am

    I love love love lamb in anything but have never made a bolognese with it – such a good idea! Maybe even with some feta sprinkled on top for more of a Mediterranean twist?

  4. #
    Amy @Very Culinary — December 11, 2014 at 8:38 am

    I never cook with lamb, but my sister swears by it. If anyone can sell me on it, it’s probably you and your gorgeous pictures. As always, you’ve made me want meat at 5:30 in the morning! Gorgeous.

  5. #
    Tonia from TheGunnySack — December 11, 2014 at 9:27 am

    What a gorgeous dinner! True comfort food!

  6. #
    Emily Bites — December 11, 2014 at 9:27 am

    I love bolognese sauce! I’ve never used lamb in it, but this looks fantastic. I just got Anolon pots and pans for my wedding and I love them!

  7. #
    Jennie @themessybakerblog — December 11, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Lamb is one of my favorites. This dish is stunning. Pinned.

  8. #
    Annie @ Annie's Noms — December 11, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Oh man, this looks fabulous! I just love a good bolognese! 🙂

  9. #
    Angie — December 11, 2014 at 11:26 am

    What a beautiful bolognese! I love that you used lamb!

  10. #
    Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes — December 11, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    I practially LIVE off of pasta. I ate it growing up and still eat it like it’s my job LOL Love bolognese sauce but love the lamb addition even more – never had it before!

  11. #
    Lauren Kelly Nutrition — December 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    My husband LOVES lamb burgers, he would adore this bolognese!

  12. #
    Savita @ ChefDeHome — December 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    What an interesting bolognese recipe! addition of lamb makes it even better!

  13. #
    foodwanderings — December 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Gosh I just wanna dig into that first photo of the lamb bolognese. Especially since I never make it at home and in restaurants they make it with a combination of meats with pork.

  14. #
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom — December 11, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    this is glorious!

  15. #
    Carla — December 11, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Total opposite of you as we probably had pasta once a week! Usually just spaghetti and meatballs. I love bolognese but never had it with lamb. Totally making this someday for sure.

  16. #
    Martha@A Family Feast — December 11, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    What an amazing dish! (And gorgeous photos as always…)

  17. #
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — December 11, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    This would be perfect for a date night dinner! Gorgeous!

  18. #
    Heather / girlichef — December 11, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    I want to be trapped in a snow storm with a big pot of this! And that bottle of wine…

  19. #
    Lana | Never Enough Thyme — December 11, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    I cooked a lamb bolognese years and years ago and it was incredibly delicious. I haven’t thought about it in a long time so thank you for reminding what a wonderful dish it is!

  20. #
    Susan — December 12, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Yeah, hi, get on my plate now. Also yes, us New Yorkers take our pasta and italian food seriously even if we aren’t Italian! It’s because your neighbor or your best friend was Italian!

  21. #
    Colleen (Souffle Bombay) — December 16, 2014 at 9:59 am

    My dad too!!! And ow my husband! John will eat it at home but NEVER out – he won’t even go to an Italian restaurant lol! He’s like its just pasta! Sigh! No you adding lamb I think would change his mind…that and a big brittle of red wine beautiful!

  22. #
    Sue Blair — August 15, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    I tried this recipe and followed, however, could NOT get it to thicken enough! Didn’t even add the last 2 cups of water. Tried cornstarch with the 1/2 C. milk ad still could not get it to thicken. My husband will eat about anything and said this was borderline acceptable. WOW!!! We love lamb but this had very little flavor, and definitely NO lamb flavor.

  23. #
    Tracie Wrisley — November 23, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    I had some ground venison and a few lamb chops laying around so I ground the lamb with some pork and made a TRIPLE batch! Oh my goodness I’m so happy there’ll be leftovers for days!


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