Lamb Ragu with Rigatoni Pasta

, from Issue #60. March, 2016
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Lamb Ragu with Rigatoni Pasta

Weeknight dinners don’t always allow for long slow cooking, so this ragu relies on the bacon and soy sauce to give a rich flavour with a shorter cooking time.

Serves: 4


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
100 grams bacon, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
pinch chilli flakes
½ teaspoon ground fennel
400 grams lamb mince
½ cup white or red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 x 400 gram tins crushed tomatoes
small handful parsley, finely chopped
sea salt and ground pepper

To serve
400 grams dry rigatoni pasta, cooked and hot
parmesan for grating


Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion with a good pinch of salt until tender. Add the bacon, garlic, rosemary, chilli flakes and fennel and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 

Add the mince, breaking up with a wooden spoon so there are no large lumps. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the wine and let it bubble up until it has all been absorbed. Stir in the tomato paste and soy then add the tomatoes. Season well and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook at a fast simmer for 20 minutes until reduced but not too thick. Stir in the parsley.

To serve: Add the hot, cooked pasta to the sauce and gently combine.

Tip into a large serving bowl and top with grated parmesan. 

Cook’s Tip: If, at the end of cooking, you still have quite big lumps of mince in the sauce, use a potato masher to achieve a smoother texture.