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
- 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!
- 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.
- Add the ground lamb. Break it up with a spatula or wooden spoon until it’s in crumbles.
- Next, add the crushed red pepper, tomato paste and pinch of sugar.
- Pour in the red wine and crushed tomatoes. Give it a good mix and bring it to a simmer.
- Cover the pot with a lid and decrease the heat to low.
- Simmer for 1 hour. Check it at the 1 hour mark and give it a taste—it’ll be hot.
- Adjust the salt. I ended up adding about 1 more teaspoon of salt.
- Add butter. This will give it a creamy flavor.
- Cover again and simmer it for an additional 30 minutes.
- 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.
- Divide it amongst bowls and top each pasta with a ladle of the 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.
- 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.
- 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.
(This post is sponsored by Beef + Lamb New Zealand. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep A Cozy Kitchen cozy.)
If you make this Lamb Bolognese, let me know on Instagram!
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