Lamb Ragout

(recipe, Richard Ruben)

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This quick-cooking ragout offers lots of flavor and great versatility. I toss it with gnocchi or penne pasta, or I treat it as a fancy Sloppy Joe over crusty bread. It also freezes well.


  1. ¼ cup olive oil
  2. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  3. 1 Tbsp. red chile flakes
  4. 2 bay leaves
  5. ½ lb. coarsely ground lamb
  6. ¼ cup red wine
  7. 1 can (16 ounces) peeled whole tomatoes
  8. 2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and julienned
  9. 1 lb. spinach, washed and roughly torn
  10. ¼ cup black olives (such as Kalamata, niçoise, or Gaeta), pitted
  11. ¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  12. ½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  13. Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Heat a heavy two-quart saucepan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic, chile flakes, and bay leaves, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the ground lamb and cook, stirring, until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and reduce for about 3 minutes until syrupy. Mix in the tomatoes and peppers and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Mix in the remaining ingredients and cook an additional 10 minutes.
  3. Correct seasonings and serve hot.