Leftover Lamb Shoulder Ragu with Tagliatelle

Leftover Lamb Shoulder Ragu in a white bowl with parmesan cheese and a grater

Possibly the best way use up the leftovers from our Spiced Lamb Shoulder recipe. It’s certainly our favourite here at F&T HQ. Sometimes all you need is nice big bowl of pasta with a good meaty Ragu, and this is exactly what it is. Comfort in a bowl. 


This is not a 6 hour slow cooked ragu, and wouldn’t be considered traditional. We expect you to have already followed our recipe for the Lamb shoulder, perhaps used it for some Lamb Flatbreads, and have a good chunk left over. The sauce is then made using reserved cooking juices, some more lamb stock, typical Ragu veggies and tinned tomatoes. All in all it would probably take the average cook around 45 minutes work. For flavour to time ratio, this is amazing. However, we are not claiming this to be an authentic Ragu  – we will be covering this at a later date after much research.

Leftover Lamb Shoulder Ragu in a white bowl close up 2

Top Tips for making this dish

Lamb Shoulder Ragu requires a little a love and some time, but at the end, when you taste it, it will all be worth it. Our tips for making this as best you can are:


  • Reduce down the lamb stock on its own. This intensifies the flavour 10 fold. It is then added to the tomato meat mix as a flavour bomb as well as to create more sauce.
  • Cut the vegetables into similar sizes. This allows them to cook evenly. 
  • Use wine. It brings acidity, acidity creates a mouth watering sensation as well as balancing the richness from the meat and tomatoes. We use white wine in our recipe but red works too – although it will be more rich.
  • If you can, try and find some D.O.P San Marzano tinned tomatoes. They are just the best. So naturally flavourful and not bitter at all. Try looking on Amazon if you can. Failing that, by the best ones you can from the supermarkets.
  • Reserve the lamb fat from the cooking of the lamb. When you refrigerate the cooking juices the fat naturally rises to the top. Scrape this off and use this fat when cooking the veggies. This adds incredible flavour. DO NOT THROW IT AWAY.
  • Stir in parmesan cheese and butter to the sauce towards the end of cooking, it adds a finishing polish to the sauce. 
  • Timing is key. Start by getting the stock reducing on a simmer. Whilst that is reducing get a large pot of water to the boil. Whilst the water and stock is simmering start cooking the Ragu. When the tomatoes go into the Ragu this is your queue to salt the water and add the pasta. By the time the pasta is cooked, so is the sauce and stock. 
Leftover Lamb Shoulder Ragu in a white bowl being pulled by a fork

This is a truly spectacular way to use up leftovers and we hope you all love it! Follow the recipe card below and you’ll be making an incredible lamb shoulder ragu before you know it. 

Video Tutorial

The Recipe

Leftover Lamb Shoulder Ragu in a white bowl close up

Leftover Lamb Shoulder Ragu

Leftover lamb shoulder in a deliciously rich and meaty homemade ragu sauce with freshly grate parmesan cheese and al denta tagliatelle.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 950 kcal


  • Frying Pan
  • Large Saucepan / Pasta Pot
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Ladle
  • Colander
  • Tongs
  • Small saucepan


  • 1/2 Fork & Twist's Spiced Lamb Shoulder Use about 100g less if you want it more saucy
  • 500 g Tin of Whole San Marzano Tomatoes if you can't get Sam Marzano, use the best quality tinned plum toms you can get
  • 1 Large Onion, diced
  • 1 Large Carrot, diced
  • 1 Large Celery, diced
  • 500 g Lamb Stock (ready made not stock cube) If lamb not available, use beef. Do not use stock cubes. Use real stock.
  • All Reserved cooking juices from the cooking of the lamb shoulder if already used elseware, add an extra 250g of Lamb/Beef Stock
  • 1 Large tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 Large Garlic clove, minced
  • 175 ml White wine
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 500 g Tagliatelle
  • 20g Grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 1 tbsp Lamb Fat from the reserved stock see video
  • 1 tbsp Table Salt for pasta water
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Chopped Parsely Leaves
  • 25 g Unsalted butter



  • Prepare the vegetables:
    Dice onion
    Dice Carrot
    Dice Celery
    Mince Garlic
  • Measure the stock, tomatoes and wine into jugs/cups

Ragu Sauce

  • Get the pasta pot filled 2/3 the way full with water and slwoly bring to a boil whilst you cook the below.
  • Combine the reserved cooking juices of the lamb and the lamb stock pouch into a small saucepan. Put this on a medium heat to simmer and reduce down by about 2/3 until intense and is napping (very lightly coat the back of a spoon).
    Top Tip - This can be done in advance or alonsgside the cooking of the vegetables.
  • Get a frying pan on a medium/low heat
  • Add the lamb fat and some oil
  • Add onion, carrot and celery to the pan and cook slowly (sweat) for about 10 minutes until softened.
    Top Tip - try to avoid browning the vegetables and instead sweat them. Keep the heat relatively low.
  • Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant and softened.
  • Add the cooked Lamb Shoulder to the pan, stir well and cook for about 5-6 minutes in a medium heat until the lamb starts to brown a little.
  • Add the white wine and turn up the heat to a simmer. Reduce the wine by 3/4.
  • Add the tomato paste and combine well. Cook for about 1 minute.
  • Make a well in the middle of the pan and add the tinned tomatoes. Break them up using the wooden spoon and sitr into the meat and vegtable mixture.
  • Fill the tomato can / jug up with about 250ml of water and add to the pan - stir well to combine and bring to a simmer.
    At this point get the pasta on (see steps under heading Pasta)
  • Once the tomato is simmering add the reduced lamb stock to the pan. Sitr well to combine and allow to simmer with the tomatoes for about 10 minutes.
  • The sauce will begin to get dry - at this point add about 1-200ml of salty, starchy pasta water. Combine and simmer until desired consistency then take off the heat.
  • Finish with 20g of grated Parmesan and the butter and stir it into the sauce.


  • When the tinned tomatoes go into the pan it's time to cook the pasta. The water should already be boiling at this point.
  • Salt the water generously with table salt.
    Top Tip - Taste the water, it should taste salty. Almost like sea water!
  • Drop the tagliatelle into the water and stir.
  • Allow the water to boil and then bring to a simmer by turning down the heat slightly.
  • Cook according to packet instructions - we find normal supermarket taglietlle is ready after 12 minutes.
  • Drain and use straight away.
    Top Tip - Let it drain for around 1 minute to allow the water to evaptorate.
    Top Tip 2 - Save some pasta water if you are still yet to use it (if your sauce is done, discard of the water)
    Top Tip 3 - If the pasta is sitting for more than a couple minutes dirzzle with olive oil and combine well to avoid sticking.
    Top Tip 4 - Keep the pasta pot for finishing the dish, do not wash. Just wipe it clean.


  • In the pasta pot, add one portion of pasta and a ladle full of sauce. Using tongs or a spoon combine the sauce and pasta thoroughly.
  • Add a pinch more parmesan and stir well.
  • Using a ladle and tongs/pincers twirl the pasta into a ball/log (as best you can) and carefully place into the bowl.
  • Top with a little more lamb ragu
  • Sprinkle a touch more parmesan and a flurry of chopped parsely leaves for colour.
  • Serve with a good glass of wine!


  1. If you can't find lamb stock use beef instead
  2. Do not use stock pots or cubes. Only the real deal will do here. Buy a pouch from the supermarket, it will be totally different.
  3. Chop the vegetables into nice even cubes that are about 5mm by 5mm. They will cook evenly and still have some texture in the Ragu.
  4. If multitasking in the kitchen is not your forté, you can make it all in advance. So reduce the stock down first, set aside. Make the ragu (instead of using pasta water, just use some cold water and season it with salt a little) and then set it aside or even leave it overnight to infuse (amazing!). Then cook your pasta, and once it's cooked you can heat it together in a pan with the pre-made ragu. Job done. 
  5. If cooking altogether and multitasking - get your pasta water on from the get go. The water should be simmering whilst you're cooking the vegetables. When you add the tomatoes to the pan, get the pasta into that water with a good amount of salt. 
  6. Finishing the sauce with butter and parmesan is like the final polish. It brings it all together and makes it shine. 
Keyword Lamb, Pasta
Nice to meet you!

Nice to meet you!

I'm James. A full time technical analyst and part time home cook. I live in London, England and run the Fork & Twist website. I'm passionate about good food and I'm so happy you're checking out one of my recipes.