Lamb Bolognese



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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! Serve it with a the best caesar salad or this endive salad with orange and walnuts.

Lamb Bolognese in bowls.

This lamb bolognese is SO delicious. 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. My ideal spring lunch would consist of a big bowl of this, a batch of my strawberry margaritas and my mini carrot cake with brown butter cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients for Lamb Bolognese

Ingredients for lamb bolognese.
  1. Carrot – I love adding carrot to bolognese. It adds a touch of sweetness that helps balance the acidity from the tomatoes.
  2. 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.
  3. Ground lamb – My favorite brand is this one pictures: Atkins Ranch. It’s a New Zealand brand that’s 100 percent grass-fed.
  4. Tomato Paste – This adds a richness and thickness to the bolognese that is much needed.
  5. 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.
  6. Crushed Tomatoes – You could always use whole tomatoes or diced, just be sure to blend them up in the blender first.
  7. 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!

For a more detailed ingredient list, please see recipe card below!

The Best Pasta for Lamb Bolognese

I prefer to use a pasta that is technically bronze-die. This means that the actual extruder the pasta goes through is made from real bronze, resulting in a pasta with a rougher texture. This texture makes it so the pasta sauce can really adhere to the pasta.

The best pasta shapes for this bolognese are as follows:

  1. Spaghetti
  2. Rigatoni (any tubular pasta will work great)
  3. Penne
  4. Pappardelle (pictured)
  5. Fussili
Dried pasta on counter.
Carrot and onion all diced up in food processor.

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.

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 in bowl.

More Spring Recipes

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4.70 from 20 votes

Lamb Bolognese

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8
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 ground lamb
  • 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.


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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Italian
Like this Recipe? Please Rate & comment below!

Cozy Latin-Inspired Comfort Food Recipes

Hi! I'm Adrianna and this is my cozy space on the internet that is super-charged by butter, flour and copious amounts of pasta. Stay awhile, will you!

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  1. 5 stars
    This is absolutely delicious. I have made it twice for company and got raves. Question, are you supposed to drain the fat from the lamb after browning but before you add the other ingredients? It doesn’t say so but the second time I made this it seemed a little greasy.

    Also I used radiator shaped pasta because that’s how I had it in a restaurant and it is a fun shape. That was my only change.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this last night – it was absolutely wonderful! I used anchovy paste instead of whole anchovies (I’m not overly fond of anchovies, but I know their use adds an umami to dishes), and Aleppo pepper instead of RPF. I also used minced fresh parsley instead of basil as the garnish, because basil just doesn’t go with lamb, IMO.

    The use of a food processor makes quick work of the carrots, onions and garlic AND I think helps thicken the sauce when it’s pulverized to a paste vs chopped very finely. For anyone who found it watery, simmer with the lid tipped to allow the steam to escape.

    Served it over pappardelle with a glass of red alongside, and it was the perfect meal on a late fall evening!

  3. 3 stars
    Nice base recipe. 3/4 c. of red wine is probably too much unless you reduce it greatly.

    The other issue, is that there aren’t enough spices and other flavors. The general proportions are decent for the main, bulky ingredients, but 6 garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp of red pepper and 2 anchovies are not enough to elevate the rest of the ingredients.
    Consider more simmering herbs added once the tomatoes are in. Or mix some dried spices in when browning the lamb. And definitely more than 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes (which won’t be noticeable in that amount of bulk).

  4. 1 star
    I do not like this recipe at all. I feel like I wasted a pound of very expensive lamb with this. The sauce was very watery and didn’t have much flavor other than tomatoes. I won’t be making this again. I have so many other great recipes

  5. 5 stars
    I. Made. This!!! It was a total hit, especially with the kids. Thank you. So simple yet so tasty. The butter at the end definitely does the trick.

  6. 5 stars
    This was delicious! And so easy! I really appreciate when recipes are kept to the basics (no running out for one time use ingredients) and still deliver maximum flavor!