Rigatoni with Lamb

Luscious lamb ragu tops rigatoni in this easy recipe.


  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed (about 1/3 palmful)
  • 1 fresh red chili pepper (such as Fresno, cherry or finger), seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • Chopped flat leaf parsley, for topping
  • Grated Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water.

While the pasta is working, pat the lamb dry with paper towels.

In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned; season with salt, pepper and the fennel seed. Stir in the carrot, shallot, garlic, rosemary, oregano and orange zest. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Stir in the tomato paste for 1 minute, then the chicken stock and wine. Bring to a bubble, then lower the heat.

Toss the pasta with the sauce and reserved cooking water for 1 minute. Top with a drizzle of EVOO and the parsley. Serve with the cheese.

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