Chefs' Recipes

Sarah Cicolini’s fusilli con ragù di agnello (fusilli with lamb ragù)

Finish with a little grated lemon zest to freshen up this classic pasta dish.
Fusilli with lamb ragu (Fusilli con ragu di agnello)Ben Dearnley
4 - 6
2H 10M
2H 20M

“In Abruzzo we eat a lot of lamb and mutton; it turns up roasted, stewed and simmered in sauces,” says Sarah Cicolini, chef at acclaimed trattoria Santo Palato. “This dish riffs on this classic Abruzzese pasta accompaniment by adding a little lemon rind for fragrance and flavour, and the thyme evokes the wild herbs that the sheep encounter as they graze through the mountains.”



1.Heat oil in a large saucepan over low-medium heat. When oil begins to shimmer, add onion, carrot, garlic, bay leaf and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (15 minutes). Increase heat to medium-high, add lamb and fry, stirring occasionally, until almost cooked (5 minutes). Add wine and simmer until evaporated (5 minutes). Add 250ml warm water, then reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, and simmer, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed to keep the pan from drying out, until lamb is browned and flavours are infused (1-11/2 hours).
2.Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water according to packet instructions until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 litre pasta water. Add pasta and half a ladle of pasta water to the ragù, and stir to coat, adding a little more pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed. Season to taste and serve immediately topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano and lemon rind.

Mutton gives this ragù a stronger flavour than lamb; it’s available to order from select butchers. Cicolini uses 60-month aged or 36-month aged Parmigiano-Reggiano. If it’s unavailable, substitute with Parmigiano-Reggiano made from the milk of vacche rosse (red cows), which is available from cheese shops such as Formaggi Ocello.

Drink suggestion: Rich red Montepulciano. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.


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