Lamb Bolognese

Dinner, One-Pot Meals, Spring, Winter

This New Zealand Grass-fed Lamb Bolognese simmers on the stove for an hour, marrying all the delicious flavors of carrot, onion, anchovy and lamb together. Ladle it over your favorite pasta for an amazing dinner, and if you have leftovers, good news – this lamb bolognese freezes easily!

Easter is in a few days and while our Easter Sunday is going to look and feel very different this year, I say we should still celebrate with a delicious dinner.

This lamb bolognese is SO delicious. It’s made with New Zealand grass-fed ground lamb from Atkins Ranch. It’s my favorite framework for any bolognese. The carrots give it a hint of sweetness, the red pepper gives it a lovely hint of spice and the lamb adds a delicious earthiness.

What is Atkins Ranch?

Back in December, I had the pleasure of visiting New Zealand with Beef + Lamb New Zealand. We spent all week visiting three farms. On the second day, we took a trip to visit an Atkins Ranch property. Their lambs are raised on beautiful rolling green hills with an ocean breeze. It was truly a breathtaking location.

Ingredients for Lamb Bolognese

  • Onion and garlic – These add a nice baseline for flavor. This combo is the best duo in cooking. I like to measure garlic by what my heart tells me. For this recipe it told me 6 garlic cloves were an ample amount—if you like, use less. I think 3 would be sufficient, too.
  • Carrot  – Tomato sauce has quite a bit of acid, so I like to balance that acid with sweetness. You can add a pinch of sugar, but I like to add carrot. I think it adds an earthy sweetness that I prefer.
  • Anchovy fillets – This ingredient is 100% optional. If you don’t have it, skip it. I love to add a few anchovy fillets because they add a bit of savoriness, and they don’t taste overtly anchovy-like or fishy.
  • Crushed red pepper – I love a teeny bit of heat in everything I eat. If you don’t like any spice, leave it out!
  • Ground Lamb – I love ground lamb. Atkins Ranch grass-fed ground lamb from New Zealand is earthy and delicious; it isn’t gamey or tough. It cooks up with everything so well and freezes well for later too (more on that below).
  • Tomato Paste – I love the richness that tomato paste brings to bolognese.
  • Crushed Tomatoes – You could always use whole tomatoes or diced, just be sure to blend them up in the blender first.
  • Red wine – Gives a lovely depth of flavor. If you don’t drink or don’t like the taste of red wine—leave it out!

How to Make Lamb Bolognese

  1. Mince up your onion, garlic cloves, carrots and anchovy fillets (if using). I like to do this in a food processor for the quickness of it all but if you don’t have one, by all means just simply chop it all up by hand. No biggie!
  2. Cook the onion, garlic, carrot and anchovy mixture in a few tablespoons of olive oil. I like to add a good baseline of salt at this time too. It encourages the carrots and onions to release some of their water.
  3. Add the ground lamb. Break it up with a spatula or wooden spoon until it’s in crumbles.
  4. Next, add the crushed red pepper, tomato paste and pinch of sugar.
  5. Pour in the red wine and crushed tomatoes. Give it a good mix and bring it to a simmer.
  6. Cover the pot with a lid and decrease the heat to low.
  7. Simmer for 1 hour. Check it at the 1 hour mark and give it a taste—it’ll be hot.
  8. Adjust the salt. I ended up adding about 1 more teaspoon of salt.
  9. Add butter. This will give it a creamy flavor.
  10. Cover again and simmer it for an additional 30 minutes.
  11. Boil pasta until al dente (reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water). Drain the pasta and then transfer the pasta back to the pot. And add a few ladles of the sauce to it. Toss the pasta with the sauce.
  12. Divide it amongst bowls and top each pasta with a ladle of the bolognese.

Lamb Bolognese

How to Freeze Bolognese

Bolognese freezes SO well. I like to let it come to room temperature completely. And then transfer it to an airtight freezer-safe container or bag. I personally like to divide it into containers that are close to the serving size I would use.

This is good in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can thaw it in the fridge overnight.

Lamb Bolognese

Lamb Bolognese

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serving Size: 8
Calories: 278kcal
This Lamb Bolognese simmers on the stove for an hour, marrying all the delicious flavors of carrot, onion, anchovy and lamb together. Ladle it over your favorite pasta for an amazing dinner, and if you have leftovers, good news – this lamb bolognese freezes easily!


  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and minced
  • 2 anchovy filets, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 pound Atkins Ranch grass-fed ground lamb from New Zealand
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • Pinch sugar
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1 (24-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound pasta, of choice
  • Parmesan-Reggiano, as garnish
  • Basil leaves, as garnish


To Make the Lamb Bolognese:

  • I like to mince everything up in a food processor. If you don’t have one, mince the onion, garlic cloves and carrots by hand—no biggie!
  • Add the onion, garlic cloves, carrots and anchovies to a food processor. Blitz until pureed.
  • In a large Dutch oven or medium pot set over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the onion/carrot mixture. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and allow to cook until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring it every so often.
  • Then add the ground lamb, breaking it up with your spatula. Mix everything together and cook until the meat has browned, about 5 minutes. Pour in the crushed red pepper and tomato paste and mix; pour in the red wine and scrape the bottom of the pot to lift up any bits.
  • Pour in the can of crushed tomatoes. And then fill the can about halfway up with water, swishing it around to pick up any leftover tomato and pour into the pot. Give it a good mix, bring it to a simmer and then immediately drop the heat to low. Cover the pot with a lid and let it cook at a gentle simmer for 1 hour.
  • It’ll be super fragrant and delicious at that point. Give it a taste and adjust the salt according to your liking. I added a few more pinches.
  • To neutralize the acid, I like to add a few tablespoons of butter. This is totally optional. You can also add a tablespoon of sour cream or creme fraiche, if you have it. Or you could skip this part all together.

To Assemble:

  • Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in your pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water. In the same pot that you cooked the pasta, add a few ladles of the sauce and add the drained pasta. Toss it in the sauce until it’s covered. If needed, add a splash or two of pasta water.
  • Divide the pasta amongst bowls. Top it with a ladle of the bolognese and top with fresh basil (if you have it) and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

To Store the Bolognese:

  • This makes delicious leftovers. Bring the entire bolognese to room temperature and then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days OR you can freeze it for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer to the fridge overnight and then warm up in a sauté pan or in the microwave.
CuisineAmerican, Italian
Keywordbolognese, lamb bolognese, pasta bolognese
Serving: 4g | Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 520mg | Potassium: 316mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2797IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

(This post is sponsored by Beef + Lamb New Zealand. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep A Cozy Kitchen cozy.)

Lamb Bolognese

If you make this Lamb Bolognese, let me know on Instagram!

Looking for more pasta recipes? Here are some favorites: 

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating

  • Reply Audrey April 13, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    5 stars
    If you have a food processor… this recipe is ridiculously easy. Seriously, the hardest part was having to sit there an hour while it smelled AMAZING. I left out anchovies because I didn’t have any and still turned out absolutely incredible and so so flavorful! This is a new all-time-favorite!

  • Reply K May 8, 2019 at 6:45 am

    Hey lady!

    How much pasta did you use with that sauce? I can’t wait to make this.


    • Reply Pamela Dale October 23, 2019 at 8:51 am

      Okay, so it’s not me. I couldn’t find how much pasta to use either.

  • Reply Carrie Stocklin July 30, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    I have had pounds of ground lamb in the freezer from a friend who has a farm with no idea what to do with it. Searched for recipes and chose yours. What do you know, I had everything in the house with few exceptions. I haven’t made anything this delicious in a while. We all, my 7 year old included, scarfed it down. I’m sharing the recipe with my sis-in-law who lives in Australia where lamb is the go to meat. Thanks for an all around winner. We will make and serve again and again!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme July 31, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Oh yay! Thank you for the feedback. So glad you and your little dude/dudette loved it! xo

  • Reply ambrosia January 29, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Such a wonderful recipe!

  • Reply Margaret November 29, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    This looks delicioussss Adrianna! And where did you purchase those lovely little gold plates?

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme November 29, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      Thank you! They’re actually vintage–picked ’em up at an old garage sale. 🙂

  • Reply DanV October 28, 2013 at 5:23 am

    I just love this sauce so much! Thank you for the recipe. Although I always do this with minced ground beef. Delicious.
    Oh yes, what’s with the boyfriend who never says a thing about my wonderful dishes and then, out of nowhere, “I LOVE THIS”. Lol but thats ok.
    I really want to try this with some good meatballs. I made meatballs using an old recipe, but I didn’t really like them… I’m going to try one of your recipes next.

  • Reply laurasmess October 15, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Haha, for some reason I the first thing that popped into mind when I read your post was ‘Shepherd’s bolognese, like Shepherd’s pie! But whatever it’s called, it looks so delicious. This is my first visit to your blog and I’m loving it so far. Oh, and re Breaking Bad? I can’t bring myself to watch it. I have addicted friends but it looks so… well, confronting and sad. But good at the same time. Maybe I should give it a go!

  • Reply Becca October 5, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    This is happening tomorrow night! Thank you.

    Side note: I’m dying over those bowls.

  • Reply Bev @ Bev Cooks October 2, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Oh my gawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwd yes.

  • Reply Emily @ Life on Food October 1, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Yes, yes and yes! This looks amazing. Talk about comfort food. How can I make this appear in front of me right now.

  • Reply Denisse @ Le Petit Chef October 1, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    this looks sooo good! I just made a lamb ragu with whole wheat penne and mint the other day. I also added carrots because I love the element of sweetness that they add…I’m intrigued by the idea of adding olives, though. I’ll have to try that next time!

  • Reply Julie October 1, 2013 at 7:56 am

    This looks positively lovely. I adore a good bolognese!

  • Reply Sarah Crowder (punctuated. with food) September 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Beautifully styles and I totally want to eat this – love lamb!

  • Reply dervla September 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I love hugs! And i love bolognese too. Those wide noodles look incredible. Also, don’t spill the beans on Breaking Bad just yet, i’m two episodes behind 🙂

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme September 30, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      Oh I won’t. Don’t you worry! You’re in a for a fun treat.

    1 2