Casarecce with Spring Lamb Ragu, Crispy Nettles, and Pecorino Pepato

  • Servings : 24
  • Prep Time : 0m
  • Cook Time : 0m
  • Ready In : 0m

Peppery pecorino cheese and fried nettles garnish this hearty dish of lamb ragu over Casarecce. Chef Christopher A. Macchia serves this at his Chicago-area restaurant Pizza Bar.


Step 1

Cook the Barilla® pasta for half the time indicated on the package. Drain pasta and drizzle with some olive oil to prevent from sticking. Place pasta flat on sheet trays or hotel pans and cool in a blast chiller. Alternatively, cool it down in a walk-in cooler. Store in zip lock bags or sealed plastic container; refrigerate and use within several hours.

Step 2

For the ragu, heat the olive oil in a heavy pot and brown the lamb in batches. Season well with salt and pepper. Remove the lamb and pour off the oil.

Step 3

Add the pancetta to the pot and cook it until it is golden brown. Add the onions, carrots, celery, thyme, rosemary, and garlic and cook until the vegetables begin to soften.

Step 4

Add the lamb back to the pot with the wine. Reduce the wine by half, then add the stock and tomato sauce. Cook for 2 to 3 hours, or until the sauce is thickened and the lamb is falling apart. Season with salt and pepper. Cool and refrigerate the ragu.

Step 5

In a saute pan, toast the panko with garlic oil and chopped herbs, to use as a garnish.

Step 6

For each serving, to order: Reheat about 1 2/3 c. pasta in simmering water. Warm some of the lamb ragu with 1/2 tsp. butter and add the drained pasta to it. Toss to coat. Plate and garnish with toasted panko crumbs and pecorino pepato. Deep-fry a few nettle leaves and season them with salt. Use them to finish the dish.


  • 1 c. olive oil
  • 6 lb. lamb shoulder, large dice
  • 1 lb. ground pancetta
  • 8 onions, finely diced
  • 8 carrots, finely diced
  • 16 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 4 bunches fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 qt. red wine
  • 6 c. tomato sauce
  • 6 c. chicken stock
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 lb. Barilla Casarecce
  • Grated pecorino pepato
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Garlic oil
  • Chopped fresh thyme and rosemary
  • Vegetable oil
  • Fresh nettle leaves
Recipe Type: Tags: , , , ,
Chef Recommended Cuts
  • Campanelle
  • Casarecce Siciliane
  • Gemelli
Related Recipes:
  • Braised Short Rib Penne

  • Rigatoni Sausage Caponata

  • Baked Orzotto with Cavallo Nero and Spring Peas

  • Campanelle al Salmone

  • Barilla Elbow Mac and Cheese with Turmeric and Roasted Cauliflower

Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1
Servings Per Container 24

Amount Per Serving
Calories 994
Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g
Saturated Fat 8g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 92mg
Sodium 947mg
Total Carbohydrate 127g
Dietary Fiber 21g
Sugars 12g
Protein 49g

Vitamin A 95%
Vitamin C 66%
Calcium 18%
Iron 58%
Allergy Information:
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Please note: for the purpose of the nutritional assessment, total sodium does not include salt added to the cooking water. When salt is listed "as needed" in the ingredient list, 1 tsp total is included in the analysis.