Impress your family (or guests) with this dreamy Baked Rigatoni with Lamb Ragu recipe courtesy of Ina Garten.
I love Ina's cookbooks so I was very excited when I bought her book, Modern Comfort Food as a little present for myself. The Baked Rigatoni with Lamb Ragu is by far one of our favorites! It does take a little time to put it together, so I made sure I had an open afternoon to fully enjoy the process. What made it even better was that our grandson, Danny, spent the day with us and he happily played with his Legos at the dining table while I was cooking.
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil
- 2 cups diced carrots (3 large, diced about ½ inch thick)
- 1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion (1 large)
- 2 cups diced fennel, cored (1 medium, diced about ½ inch thick)
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves) – I used double that to get 1 full tablespoon.
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (28-0z) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds, roughly chopped
- 2 ½ cups dry red wine, such as Chianti or Cotes du Rhone, divided (I used Chianti – delicious!)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed with your hands
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound rigatoni (I used Barilla)
- 2 extra-large eggs
- ⅔ c. heavy cream
- 1-pound fresh salted mozzarella, divided evenly
- ½ cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley (optional) I didn’t have any fresh parsley, so I used dried oregano and it worked perfectly!
Make the Lamb Ragu
Heat the olive oil in a medium (10 to 11-inch) heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and fennel and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown. Add the lamb, garlic, and fennel seeds and cook for 8 minutes, breaking up the lamb with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes, 2 cups of the wine, the oregano, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, partly covered, for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Off the heat, stir in the remaining ½ cup of red wine.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the rigatoni. Cook according to the directions on the package or until barely al dente. Drain.
Putting the Baked Rigatoni with Lamb Ragu Together
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream. Add the rigatoni and toss well. Grate half of the mozzarella on a box grater and add it to the rigatoni mixture. Add the lamb mixture, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper and toss well.
Transfer a 10 × 14 × 2-inch baking dish and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Slice the remaining mozzarella and arrange it on top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the sauce is hot and bubbling. Some of the pasta should be crusty on top. Sprinkle parsley evenly on top. Serve hot.