Lamb Ragu with Rigatoni and Ricotta

Rach creates a simple spring pasta dish with ricotta-topped rigatoni mixed with a lamb and tomato sauce seasoned with fresh mint and parsley.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 can Italian tomatoes and their juice or tomato puree (28 ounces)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound whole wheat rigatoni or other short-cut pasta, regular (semolina) or whole wheat
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese or fresh sheep’s milk ricotta or crumbled feta or ricotta salata
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (a handful), finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons mint leaves (a small handful), finely chopped


Heat a heavy pot over medium-high heat with the EVOO, two turns of the pan. Add the lamb and brown the meat; season with cloves, salt and pepper. When the lamb is brown, add the carrot, onion, garlic and rosemary. Cook for 7-8 minutes to soften the vegetables. Stir in the tomato paste, 1 minute, stir in the wine for a minute more, then add the tomatoes and crush them with wooden spoon or potato masher. Thicken the sauce for a couple of minutes, then stir in the milk. Let simmer to thicken.

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Add salt, then cook the pasta to al dente. Drain and toss the pasta with the lamb ragu.

Serve in shallow bowls topped with cheese to mix in as you eat. Garnish with parsley and mint.

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Rachael Ray