Lamb Bolognese with Herbs & Parmesan

a simple, cozy lamb bolognese tossed with paccheri pasta, herbs, and parmesan cheese

servings: 6-8

  • Author: Kayla Howey


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • olive oil
  • 2 lbs ground American lamb
  • kosher salt
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups white wine
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 sprigs oregano
  • 2 lbs dry pasta
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 tbsp butter


  1. Add the onion, celery, and carrots to food processor. Pulse until finely chopped and set aside.
  2. Heat a large, heavy-bottom pot (or Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Working with half of the ground lamb at a time, break the meat apart into small chunks as you add it to the oil.
  3. Let the lamb sear for a few minutes on one side. Season with a good pinch of salt. Then, stir the lamb and allow it to brown on all sides. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the lamb to a plate (you don’t want it to be fully cooked at this point). Repeat with the remaining lamb, again transferring the lamb to the plate once it’s browned.
  4. Add a little bit more olive oil to the pot, along with the finely chopped vegetable mixture. Season with salt and sauté for about 3 minutes until softened. Stir in the tomato paste and mix well. Allow to cook for another 5 minutes to develop the flavor. Add the lamb back to the pot.
  5. Pour in the white wine, chicken stock, and whole milk. Mix well to combine. Add the bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and oregano. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Once simmering, turn the heat all the way low. Allow the bolognese to simmer, uncovered, for about 2 ½ hours, stirring regularly. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
  6. To serve, drop the pasta into a large pot of boiling, salted water. Cook the dry pasta for about a minute under the package’s instructed cooking time.
  7. Transfer ½ cup of pasta water out of the pot right before draining the pasta and add it to the bolognese. Stir in the parmesan and butter. Drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the bolognese and toss well to combine. Allow the sauce to continue to thicken as it starts to coat the pasta. Serve with more parmesan sprinkled over top.


The bolognese works really well for leftovers. If you know you want to save some of the sauce (it freezes well, too), just reserve a bit after step 5 and refrigerate until needed. You can reheat the sauce in a saucepan over medium-low on the stovetop and then proceed with steps 6 and 7.