Braised Lamb Pappardelle


Photo by David Bishop

We often had lamb for Easter dinner growing up. Lamb seemed so special with its rich aroma. The hearty nature of lamb is well suited to the broad noodle pappardelle. Traditionally Tuscans serve pappardelle with hare, whose gaminess is also well paired with it. I use cognac to braise the lamb instead of wine for an even richer flavor. After searing the meat, a mirepoix of shallot, carrot and celery forms the basis of the sauce, lending body and sweetness.

Ingredients: Serves 4
  • 1 lb boneless leg of lamb
  • 2 cups cognac
  • 7 oz. veal, beef, or lamb demi glaze, fresh or thawed frozen
  • ½ cup carrot, ¼ inch dice
  • ½ cup celery, ¼ inch dice
  • ½ cup shallot, ¼ inch dice
  • ½ cup Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 bay leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • water to cover the ingredients
  • shaved Pecorino Romano as garnish (optional)
  • 1 gallon water
  • 8 oz. egg semolina pappardelle, dried
  • ½ cup sea salt
  1. Trim the lamb of any sinew and cut it into 1-inch chunks
  2. Salt and pepper the lamb on two sides
  3. On medium high heat in a large, deep skillet with a fitted lid, sear the meat in the oil on all sides until browned
  4. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside
  5. Reduce the heat to medium and add the carrot, celery and shallots to the pan
  6. Cook the mirepoix of vegetables for about 3 minutes
  7. Add the meat back into the pan, including any settled juices, with the cognac, demi glaze and bay leaves
  8. Cover the ingredients with water (you can use stock instead of demi glaze and leave out the water)
  9. Bring everything to a low boil and cover the pan with the lid
  10. Simmer gently for 50 minutes
  11. Add in the parsley and continue cooking with the lid one for another 10 minutes
  12. Cook the pappardelle about one minute less than the package directions, about 4 minutes
  13. Scoop the cooked pasta into the pan of lamb ragout with about ½ cup of the pasta water
  14. Stir and continue cooking for about another minute
  15. Serve into individual dishes using tongs for the bulk and a spoon for saucing
  16. Garnish with shaved Pecorino Romano if desired

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