This leftover lamb Ragu is packed full of flavor - comfort food at it's very best! Turn your lamb leftovers into another delicious midweek dinner with this easy recipe for Italian ragu. No leftover lamb? No problem! This can also be made with lamb stew meat or ground lamb (mince).
If you've ever wondered what can I do with leftover lamb - this easy ragu is the perfect way to use it up after a weekend roast. Whether its leftover leg of lamb or leftover shoulder of lamb - this recipe proves that roast meat can still be economical!
This easy lamb ragu recipe is a firm favorite with the family. The simple flavors are a hit with the kids too as they love a hearty pasta dish.
I serve my ragu with pasta, but you can serve it with gnocchi or top it with mashed potato or sweet potato for a quick shepherds pie.
- Why You'll Love This Leftover Lamb Ragu
- What to Serve with Leftover Lamb Ragu
- Leftover Lamb Pasta Ingredients
- How to Make Leftover Lamb Ragu - Step-By-Step
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Variations & Substitutions for Leftover Lamb Ragu
- Tips & Tricks For Making Leftover Lamb Pasta
- Pin This Leftover Lamb Ragu Recipe For Later
- What Do You Think?!
- More Easy Dinner Recipe Ideas
- Printable Recipe
- Leftover Lamb Ragu
- Reader Comments & Ratings
Why You'll Love This Leftover Lamb Ragu
- Packed full of flavor, this leftover lamb ragu recipe uses simple ingredients that most of us have in our larder.
- Hand's on cooking time is minimal. This is a straightforward meal as the lamb ragu is left to simmer away on the stove.
- Leftover lamb pasta is a great way of making one roast dinner go a long way.
- I hate to see anything go to waste, so try these other great tasting recipes for using up the weekend's roast, my Leftover Roast Beef & Wild Rice Soup, or Steak Crostini.
What to Serve with Leftover Lamb Ragu
My leftover lamb ragu is a filling dish so I keep any side dishes simple. I serve the ragu with my favorite pasta, in this case rigatoni. But you can use any shape or swap the pasta for gnocchi.
This is a hearty dish so I keep the sides simple, and a simple salad is always my go to. A dressed green salad is ideal, or try my Roasted Squash & Zucchini with Goats Cheese.
Leftover Lamb Pasta Ingredients
Find the full list and quantities in the recipe below.
Lamb - I made this ragu with leftover roast lamb, both leg and shoulder will work. You can also make the ragu with ground lamb mince or lamb stewing meat if you don't have leftovers. Just ensure that you adapt the cooking times accordingly.
Vegetables - an Italian soffritto starts with onion (or red onion), celery and carrot and these flavors form the base of many Italian dishes. Tomatoes are then added to the ragu sauce to give depth of flavor to the finished ragu.
Red Wine- I use red wine, as the alcohol is reduced and burnt off when deglazing the pan. However, if you prefer a non alcoholic alternative, try some red grape juice to deglaze the pan. Chicken stock would work well here too.
Fresh Herbs - As well as seasoning some fresh aromatics are added to the sauce, in this case garlic cloves, rosemary and bay. You could also add fresh parsley and basil leaves.
How to Make Leftover Lamb Ragu - Step-By-Step
Find the full printable recipe below.
Sauté onion, carrot and celery in olive oil over a low heat until soft, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add garlic and cook for a further minute.
Deglaze the pan with red wine then add the remaining ingredients: cooked lamb, broth, canned tomatoes, tomato paste (tomato puree), pinch of sugar, bay leaves and rosemary. Season generously.
Simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on then simmer for a further 30 minutes with the lid off. Stir occassionally and add additional stock or water if the ragu looks dry.
Serve how you wish such as with al dente pasta. Top with grated parmesan if desired. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between ragu and ragout?
These are both hearty sauces, and despite sounding similar they are different. Ragu is an Italian pasta sauce - a staple of northern European cooking - made with ground meat, vegetables and in some cases tomatoes.
Whereas a ragout is a slow cooked French style braised dish, comprising larger pieces of meat or fish with vegetables, or in some cases, only vegetables.
How Long Is Leftover Lamb OK to eat?
If you find yourself with extra lamb it can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days (longer if you freeze it). As with all leftover meat, just ensure that you heat it up to piping hot when you are ready to eat.
Ragu is also wonderful for big batch cooking and can be kept in an air tight container for up to 3 months in the freezer.
What else can I do with Leftover Lamb?
There are so many wonderful leftover lamb recipes and it can be used is a whole variety of dishes. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Leftover roast lamb curry. Try lamb in place of chicken in my delicious Curry in a Hurry.
- Lamb and vegetable stew, adding potatoes for a complete meal in one.
- Add leftover lamb to tacos.
- Lamb shakshuka.
- Leftover lamb and vegetable stir-fry.
- Leftover roast lamb gyro.
- Top with mashed potato or sweet potato for Shepherd's pie.
- Middle Eastern style lamb pilaf.
Is Leftover Lamb Ragu an Authentic Italian recipe?
Italians are well known for making produce go a long way, and they don't like to see anything going to waste. They make great use of any leftovers and would use leftover roasted meat in ragu pasta sauces.
Variations & Substitutions for Leftover Lamb Ragu
I have used leftover roast lamb shoulder in this ragu sauce. However, you can also make this recipe with ground lamb or even some diced lamb shoulder. Adapt cooking times accordingly, lamb shoulder will need a longer, slower braise, whereas ground lamb will cook more quickly.
Swap the leftover roast lamb for leftover roast beef instead as the flavors in this sauce will work with beef too.
Top the ragu sauce with some mashed potato or sweet potato for a mid week twist on Shepherds Pie.
Serve the ragu sauce with gnocchi instead of pasta.
Tips & Tricks For Making Leftover Lamb Pasta
- If you are entertaining, this is a great dish to make in advance. As with all ragus and stew based dishes, this dish actually tastes better the day after it’s cooked as the flavors have more time to meld together the longer it sits.
- If you like your meat to look more 'shredded' or pulled rather than just chopped, use a potato masher to lightly 'mash' the finished ragu. This will break up any remaining pieces of tomato and meat and help to further incorporate the sauce.
- If the sauce looks too thick add some more stock.
- If the sauce looks too thin then allow it to bubble away and reduce for a little longer on the stove.
How To Reheat Leftover Lamb Ragu?
Once the ragu sauce has been cooked and cooled, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready to enjoy, heat to piping hot.
How to Freeze Leftover Lamb Ragu?
Once cooked and cooked, place the lamb ragu into an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy defrost thoroughly in the refrigerator before warming to piping hot.
If the sauce is a little thick simply loosen it with a little water.
Pin This Leftover Lamb Ragu Recipe For Later
What Do You Think?!
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More Easy Dinner Recipe Ideas
Leftover Lamb Ragu
- 1 Onion - diced
- 2 Carrots - diced
- 2 ribs Celery - diced
- 2 cloves Garlic - minced
- ½ cup Red Wine
- 1¼ lb Cooked Lamb - cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup Chicken Stock - or broth
- 14 oz Canned Diced Tomatoes
- 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
- Pinch Sugar - optional
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 sprig Rosemary
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper
- Grated Parmesan - optional for serving
- Add the olive oil to a large heavy based frying pan or skillet.
- Sauté the diced onion, carrots and celery for around 10 minutes over a gentle heat until soft.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute longer.
- Add the red wine and let it cook down for a minute or two over a medium heat, scraping up any browned bits from the pan.
- Add the cooked lamb, chicken stock/broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, pinch of sugar, bay leaves and rosemary to the pan.
- Season with sea salt and black pepper and stir gently to incorporate.
- Bring to a boil them turn to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes with a lid on, stirring occasionally.
- Take the lid off and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Add an extra splash or two of broth or water if needed.
- Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain.
- Serve as preferred and top with grated parmesan if desired.
That looks delicious - I especially like the idea of serving it with pasta and parmesan cheese. I'm always on the lookout for recipes to make with leftover lamb!
Jo Keohane says
Thanks so much for your comment Veronica - it's so great to make a completely new meal with leftovers isn't it?
This looks delicious and what a quick and easy way to use up leftover roast lamb.
Jo Keohane says
Thanks Lesley - it gets made on repeat in our house.
I'm a big fan of ways to use up leftovers and this is a great recipe for just that.
Jo Keohane says
Hi Janice - thanks so much, so glad you liked this one. Leftovers are all the more important at the moment aren't they?
i just double batch this just so i can have more for leftovers and not have to cook thru the week!
Jo Keohane says
So wise! We love leftovers recipes. Thanks so much for commenting.
Chloe Edges says
Such a great idea, for some reason I find leftover lamb to be the hardest of the roasts to think of great ways to use the leftovers but this is fab!
Jo Keohane says
I'm glad you like the idea of this one, we do have it a lot in our house and it always goes down well. Thank you for your comment!
i love lamb ragu. it's a great way to use up leftovers or simply make a big batch for meal prep!
Jo Keohane says
So true. Love to get the most we can from leftovers always!! Thanks so much for your comment Nancy.
Helen at Casa Costello says
I very rarely think to cook with Lamb but when I see recipes like this, I remember how tasty it is. Loving the use for leftovers. #cookblogshare
Jo Keohane says
Thanks so much for your comment Helen, we love this one in our house too.
Aside from pasta.. what else can I serve this with?
Jo Keohane says
I love it with mashed potatoes or if you like it, creamy polenta. I have also been known to spoon it over a baked potato and finish with some grated parm - lovely. If you want to go lower carb it's great with zucchini noodles or even just a bowl of dressed greens. Hope you enjoy!