This Instant Pot lamb ragu recipe gives you a hearty sauce in no time flat. The flavor is rich, deep, and super hearty.
My Instant Pot has quickly become my favorite tool in the kitchen. It cuts the cooking time in half for loads of dishes, allowing me to make them whenever I want!
The nifty cooking device somehow takes hearty dishes and builds flavor like they were cooking on the stove all day. I was so surprised at how juicy and tender my pork chops and brisket were after making them in the Instant Pot, as the cooking time was cut in half!
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Why you’ll love this lamb ragu recipe
Straight from my mom’s kitchen, this lamb ragu is truly one of the best. The meat melts in your mouth and for such an elegant dish, you’ll be surprised at how hands-off it is!
- It’s loaded with flavor. The lamb stews with the vegetables in the pressure cooker make a flavor that is truly out of this world. The pot makes sure the meat absorbs all of the spices, broth, and vegetables to make a super tasty ragu.
- Super quick. Unlike traditional ragu, this dish does not need to sit on the stove for hours on end. The Instant Pot allows the hearty sauce to be made in under an hour.
- Healthy choice. Cooking in the Instant Pot takes away any need for excess oil and butter. A limited amount of oil is used to make this heartwarming dish.
While the ingredient list may look a little long, it’s essential in making the meaty and hearty sauce and you’ll have no regrets! Here is what you’ll need:
- Lamb shoulder. To be cut into chunks. You can sometimes find it pre-cut at some butchers or grocery stores.
Lamb shoulder can often be seasonal, so switch it out for lamb chunks, lamb shank, or even beef chuck.
- Salt and pepper. To season the lamb and vegetables.
- Olive oil. To saute and sear in the Instant Pot.
- Garlic. Use fresh.
- Onion, carrot, and celery. To add a base layer of flavor to the dish.
- Beef broth. Will enhance the flavor of the lamb.
- Diced tomatoes. Use canned diced tomatoes.
Canned tomato tip
Always choose a good quality brand of canned tomatoes as it makes all the difference. You can also use ones with some added herbs in them, like garlic and basil.
- Tomato paste. A small amount goes a long way.
- Italian seasoning. A great flavor combo for the meat.
Also known as Italian mixed herbs, you can skip the pre-made kind and make your own. It’s a combination of garlic powder, dried basil, parsley, oregano, and thyme.
- Sugar. Adds the perfect amount of sweetness to the dish.
- Bay leaves. A strong but subtle flavor.
- Beef bouillon cube. Enhance the beef flavor of the dish.
- Pappardelle pasta. The perfect vehicle for the sauce.
How to make lamb ragu
- Prepare and season the lamb. Cut the lamb into large chunks and season the meat with salt and pepper.
- Saute in the Instant Pot. In the Instant Pot using the statué function, add the olive oil. Once the oil has heated up, add the garlic, onions, carrots, and celery to the pot. Cook the vegetable until they are tender. Add the lamb to the pot and sear it on all sides.
Don’t have an instant pot?
If you don’t have an instant pot, you can make this stovetop or in the slow cooker.
- Add in the remaining ingredients. Once the lamb is seared, add the remaining ingredients to it. Add the beef broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, sugar, bay leaves, and bouillon cube. Give the mixture a good stir until everything is combined. Place the lid on the pot and lock it with the vent in the closed position.
- Step 4: Cook the ragu then shred the lamb. Let the Instant Pot cook uninterrupted on high pressure for 25 minutes. At the 25-minute mark, allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, followed by a quick release. Open the pot and shed the lamb chunks using two forks. Discard any sinew or pieces of fat that may have come from the lamb.
- Step 5: Prepare the pasta then combine. While the lamb mixture sits, cook the pappardelle according to the package instructions. Transfer the lamb ragu to a large pot or dutch oven. Add the cooked pasta, along with ¼-½ cup of the pasta water. Use a wooden spoon to combine the mixture, making sure the sauce is fully distributed.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Don’t overfill. Follow the recipe and make sure that the Instant Pot is not more than 2/3rd full. If the chunks of lamb are too big, adjust as needed. If the pot is too full, the lid can explode.
- Don’t rush the sear. Make sure the Instant Pot is hot when searing the lamb. Let the lamb sear on all sides to seal in the flavor. A little patients goes a long way in this recipe.
- Taste for seasoning. When the lamb ragu is finished, and the full flavor isn’t there, simply add more salt and pepper. That will balance out the flavor of the meat and make the ragu taste better in a flash.
This dish is a classic combination, so there are not many flavor variations for the dish. However, there are a few substitutes to make if wanted.
- Skip the pasta and go the low-carb route with zucchini noodles, low carb noodles, or spaghetti squash. It will be an excellent vehicle for the sauce to ride. We often do this with our seafood or shrimp pesto pasta.
- If you are not a fan of lamb or cannot seem to find it in the store, ask for beef chunk. It will have a similar flavor profile and texture to the lamb to make an excellent ragu.
To store: Store any leftover sauce in a separate container from the pasta. The sauce should last 3-5 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
To reheat: Add the pasta and sauce to a pan and slowly reheat over a medium-low flame. The sauce can also be reheated separately in a saucepan.
To freeze: Freeze the sauce in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Let the sauce fully cook and cool before placing it in the container.
Recommended tools to make this recipe
- Instant pot. The powerful gadget that makes cooking this lamb a breeze!
- Dutch oven. You can also slow cook the lamb using this kitchen tool.
- Large pot. To prep the pasta.
More lamb recipes to try
Yes! Other pasta will be great for this sauce. However, pappardelle will be the best vehicle for the sauce.
If you find your lamb is tough after cooking, it could be due to the amount of liquid that it was cooked in. Make sure that you follow the recipe and add in the proper amount of liquid needed.
Yes! Use the same base for the sauce and let the lamb cook in the mixture. You may have to adjust the amount of liquid needed for a proper cook.
- 1 lb lamb shoulder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 small onion sliced
- 1 small carrot diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 14 oz canned tomatoes diced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 beef bouillon cube
- 12 ounces pappardelle
- Pat dry the lamb and chop into large chunks. Season with salt and pepper.
- Using the sauté function, heat the olive oil in the instant pot. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, and celery, and cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the lamb and sear on all sides.
- Add the beef broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, sugar, bay leaves, and beef bouillon cube and stir until combined.
- Lock the lid and close the vent valve. Cook everything on high pressure for 25 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then do a quick release.
- Using two forks, shred the lamb and discard any sinew or pieces of fat. Let the mixture sit as you prepare the pasta.
- Cook the pappardelle as per its package instructions.
- Transfer the lamb sauce to a large pot or dutch oven. Add the cooked pappardelle, along with 1/4-1/2 cup of pasta water. Mix everything together and serve.
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