Lamb Bolognese with Egg Noodles and Fresh Mint Recipe

Lamb Bolognese with Egg Noodles and Fresh Mint Recipe
Staff Writer

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Chef Geoffrey Zakarian of The Lambs Club makes a regional Italian specialty with lamb, the Middle Eastern favorite meat. He usually enjoys the leftovers of this dish and recommends pairing it with a solid Côtes du Rhône. — Yasmin Fahr


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ pound coarsely ground lamb shoulder
  • ½ pound coarsely ground turkey leg meat
  • ½ pound coarsely ground veal shoulder
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia (1 small-medium onion)
  • ¼ cup chopped garlic (4 large cloves)
  • ½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • ¾ cup diced carrot (1 large carrot)
  • ¾ cup diced celery (1 large stalk)
  • ¾ cup diced celery root (½ small celery root)
  • ½ teaspoon ground toasted cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground toasted coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped (2 medium tomatoes)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup fresh, flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 2 ½ pounds egg noodles (fresh or dried)


Place the oil in a large heavy saucepot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the lamb, turkey, and veal. Brown the meat, stirring, and breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Spoon the meat into a colander placed over a bowl, to drain any excess fat.

Discard the fat from the pot and return it to medium heat. Add the butter and onions, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and hot pepper flakes, and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, celery root, cumin, coriander, star anise, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Increase the heat to medium high, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the wine and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the wine has reduced by 1/3, 5-7 minutes.

Return the meat to the pot and add the tomatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the tomatoes have released all their juices, about 45 minutes. Stir the pot frequently to ensure that none of the sauce sticks to the bottom.

Uncover the pot and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the cream, parsley, mint, and rosemary. Simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by 2/3 and the sauce looks moist but not liquid, about 45 minutes more. Remove and discard the bay leaves and cinnamon stick.

Cook the egg noodles, return to the pot, add the sauce, toss well to combine, serve immediately in warm bowls. 

Lamb Shopping Tip

Look for meat that is bright red. Red meat turns paler as the hemoglobin within releases oxygen – a sign that the meat has been sitting too long at the butcher's counter.

Lamb Cooking Tip

When browning meat, resist the urge to move the meat – you must allow a flavorful crust to form over high heat. Once it has formed, the meat should slide freely with the shake of a pan.

Lamb Wine Pairing

Most red wines, especially cabernet sauvignon, but also including cabernet franc, mourvèdre, Rhône blends, zinfandel, petite sirah, nebbiolo, nero d'avola, primitivo, barbera, and sangiovese.