Slow cooker lamb ragu with pappardelle

Slow cooker lamb ragu with pappardelle

In Italian cuisine ragu is a meat-based sauce that is commonly served with pasta.

The first documented recipe for a meat sauce, in which the cooked meat was an integral part of the sauce served with pasta, dates from the end of the 18th century.
After the early 1830s recipes for ragu appear frequently in cookbooks from the Emilia-Romagna Region.

By the late 19th century, the use of heavy meat sauces on pasta was common on feast days, and Sundays but only with the wealthier classes of the newly unified Italy – given the expense of meat.

Ragu meats may include one or more of beef, chicken, pork, duck, or lamb.

Whichever meat you prefer, ragu and lashings of pasta make for the perfect winter warmer.



  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 1 red onion (halved and sliced)
  • 1 fennel bulb (trimmed and diced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (sliced)
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 400g can cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable liquid stock
  • 250g packet dried pappardelle
  • Finely grated parmesan to serve



  • Heat half the oil in a slow-cooker bowl or large, deep frying pan over high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Add to bowl. Cook for 2 minutes each side or until browned. Transfer to a plate. Discard oil and wipe bowl clean.
  • Heat remaining oil in bowl over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel, garlic, bay leaf and rosemary. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add wine. Boil over high heat for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Return lamb to bowl. Transfer bowl to slow cooker. Cover. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours.
  • Discard rosemary and bay leaf. Transfer lamb to a board. Add pasta to sauce, pushing pasta into sauce. Cover and cook on HIGH for 18 minutes. Meanwhile, using 2 forks, shred meat. Discard bones. Return lamb to slow cooker. Toss to combine.
  • Serve ragu sprinkled with parmesan.


Please note you will need a 5.5 litre slow cooker for this recipe.


Recipe and photo courtesy of