Slow-cooked lamb ragu in a rich, tomato sauce served with soft, fluffy cauliflower gnocchi is the ultimate show stopper meal. The perfect meal for lazy weekend cooking.
Full recipe with amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Lamb. I used lamb shoulder but a leg of lamb will also work.
- Red wine.
- Beef/lamb stock.
- Chopped tomatoes.
- Tomato paste.
- Salt and pepper.
- Potatoes. Use any potato variety suitable for baking. Waxy potatoes will make the gnocchi gluey.
- Egg yolk.
How to make lamb ragu
- Cook the lamb: Place the lamb shoulder and aromatics (onion, garlic, herbs) in a large roasting tray and add the red wine and stock. Roast until the lamb is tender and can easily be shredded (approximately 3-4 hours).
- Make the ragu: Saute onion and garlic until fragrant then add tomatoes, herbs, red wine and the shredded lamb and cook for 25-30 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly. Season to taste and serve.
Can I make this ragu in an Instant Pot/Pressure cooker?
Yes absolutely. Start the lamb in the Instant Pot and cook with the aromatics for 1 hour, 15 minutes on high pressure. Remove the lamb and shred then continue with the ragu as directed above. If you’d like to use a slow cooker, the lamb will take approximately 7-8 hours.
How do you know when gnocchi is cooked?
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then drop in the gnocchi. Once the gnocchi floats to the top, they are ready and can be scooped out with a slotted spoon and combined with sauce.
Is gnocchi gluten free?
If you use a gluten-free flour, gnocchi can be gluten free but most gnocchi recipes and shop-bought gnocchi are not gluten free.
Slow cooked recipes
- Beef ragu with Parmesan gnocchi
- Classic Spaghetti Bolognese
- Slow braised beef short ribs with cheesy mash
Lamb ragu with cauliflower gnocchi
for the ragu
- 1 kg (2lbs) lamb shoulder
- 1 onion quartered
- 6 garlic cloves skin on
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 cups red wine
- 1 cup beef/lamb stock
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 400 g (14oz) chopped tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- salt & pepper to taste
for the gnocchi
- 1 kg (2lb) baking/fluffy potatoes
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 egg yolks
- 1½-2 cups cake/all purpose flour
- salt to taste
- 1 cup semolina for dusting
- To make the lamb ragu, pre-heat the oven to 160°c/320°F.
- Place the lamb shoulder, along with the quartered onion, garlic cloves, rosemary, half of the red wine and stock in an oven-proof dish then season to taste and cover with foil/a lid.
- Place in the oven and allow to roast slowly for 3-4 hours until the lamb is tender and falling off the bone.
- In the meantime, place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour until a skewer is easily inserted.
- Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Allow to roast alongside the potatoes until golden brown and cooked through.
- Remove the potatoes and cauliflower from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Puree the cauliflower and set aside.
- Halve the potatoes and scoop the flesh into a bowl, using a potato masher/fork, mash until there are no lumps. Add the cauliflower puree and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Add the egg yolks and mix well.
- Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time and mix in gently, you don’t want to over-work the dough. I only needed 1.5 cups of flour for my gnocchi but some mixtures might need a bit more. It’s best to make sure your potatoes are quite dry before adding the flour though as the more flour you add, the tougher your gnocchi will be. The dough should be soft and a little tacky, but not overly sticky.
- Break tennis ball sized pieces off of the dough and roll into long strips on a floured surface. cut the strip into 1cm gnocchis and place on a tray sprinkled with semolina (the semolina won't absorb into the gnocchi) until you are ready to cook them. If you like, you can also use a fork to make indents in the gnocchi which create little spaces to suck up more of the ragu sauce.
- When the lamb is cooked, remove from the oven and shred.
- In a saucepan, saute the red onion and sliced garlic until soft and translucent then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, shredded lamb and all the lamb's cooking juices.
- Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly and the lamb is very tender.
- To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and drop the gnocchi in carefully. When they float to the surface they are ready. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place straight into the ragu.
- Serve immediately.
Can you cook this in a slow cooker
Definitely, cooking times will just be adjusted obviously.
I have a leg of lamb in the fridge, can I use that instead of the shoulder?
This all sounds wonderful. Do you have a conversion to US measurements?
Thanks Teri. You can have a look at our conversion chart here: http://simply-delicious-food.com/2014/03/26/conversion-chart/.
This dish looks and sounds comforting! So perfect for the cooler fall nights ahead.
Thanks Sabrina! It’s definitely the perfect comfort food.
Made this recipe yesterday and it was absolutely delicious. That ragu is life changing and the gnocchi was perfect. Thanks for sharing!
Oh, I’m so glad you liked it! That gnocchi is just dreamy, isn’t it?
Now that is what I call delicious slow food. Love the idea of cauliflower gnocchi.
Thanks Nadia. There’s just nothing like slow food, is there?
rebecca | DisplacedHousewife
Ragu + gnocchi…you’re speaking my love language. ;0 This seriously looks so delicious and your photos are gorgeous!!! xoxo
Thanks R! 🙂
Karen @ Seasonal Cravings
I love, love rich, tasty ragu sauce but I never eat lamb. This is a must try since hubby would love it! It makes me crave a cool fall night!
Lamb is a constant in our diets since we have the most amazing lamb in South Africa, you should really try it. It’s amazing in a ragu like this.
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve never made my own gnocchi Alida! And I love gnocchi like nobody’s business! And cauliflower too!! This dish looks like the PERFECT comfort food. The temps here are close to 100, so I’ll need to put off making this one for a bit, but it’s definitely going on my list of things I MUST TRY!
You simply must give it a go. It’s a lot easier than it seems and so worth it. Once it cools off over there, you have to try this. 🙂