Lamb Shank Ragu with Cheesy Gnudi

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 55 min
  • Prep: 35 min
  • Inactive: 5 min
  • Cook: 2 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
Share This Recipe


Lamb Shank Ragu:

3 large lamb shanks (4 1/2 pounds)

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Olive oil

2 large carrots, roughly chopped

2 celery stalks, roughly chopped

1 head garlic, split horizontally

1 yellow onion, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons dry mustard powder

3 to 4 pinches red chili flakes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup dry red wine

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh thyme

One 14.5-ounce can stewed tomatoes

Cheesy Gnudi:

Kosher salt

1 pound ricotta cheese, drained

1 cup shredded fontina cheese

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Zest of 2 lemons

1 large egg plus 2 yolks

Cracked black pepper

3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

To Assemble:

4 heaping tablespoons whole-grain mustard

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups fresh peas, or frozen and thawed

6 stalks asparagus, thinly sliced on a slight bias

Fresh mint leaves, torn, for garnish

2 cups fresh pea shoots

Olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper


  1. For the lamb shank ragu: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat. Sprinkle the lamb shanks generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Add olive oil to coat the hot pot and sear all sides of the lamb shanks until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the Dutch oven and set aside. Add another tablespoon olive oil to the pot, if needed, and saute the carrots, celery, garlic and onions until golden brown and fragrant. Next, add the mustard powder and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute to release their flavor. Add the tomato paste and cook 1 minute to brown.
  3. Lower the heat to medium, deglaze with the red wine and cook until reduced by one-quarter. Return the lamb shanks to the pot followed by the chicken broth, rosemary, thyme and tomatoes. The lamb shanks should be covered three-quarters of the way up by the liquid. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook until the lamb shanks are just about to fall off the bone, about 2 hours.
  4. For the cheesy gnudi: Bring a large pot of salted water to a full simmer over high heat. Combine the ricotta, fontina, Parmesan, 1/2 of the lemon zest, eggs and a pinch salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Mix with a spatula until smooth. Slowly add in the flour until a soft dough comes together (it may take more or less flour). It may be best to mix with your hands at this point so that you can feel the wetness and texture. You want to add just enough flour until the dough stops being "wet."
  5. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. On a floured surface, roll each portion into a rope about 12 inches long and 1/2-inch thick. Cut the ropes into 1-inch pieces, using a knife.
  6. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, add the gnudi to the pot of simmering water and cook just until they rise to the top. Remove the gnudi using a slotted spoon and transfer to a sheet tray. Repeat the process until all the gnudi is cooked.
  7. For assembly: Remove the lamb shanks from the pot, transfer to a large bowl and let cool until you can handle them. Strain the sauce and stir in the whole-grain mustard. Shred the lamb meat and toss with the strained sauce. Return the lamb and strained sauce back to the Dutch oven to keep warm.
  8. Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium-low heat until golden brown and nutty. Add in the gnudi and saute, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the peas and asparagus and continue to cook, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, then toss in the mint and remaining lemon zest.
  9. Toss the pea shoots with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Plate the gnudi with the lamb ragu on top and garnish with the fresh pea shoot salad.

Fudge Factor

Chocolate Desserts

Indulge in our decadent chocolate desserts, from cookies and cakes to puddings, souffles and truffles.

Over-the-Top-Delicious Treats to Satisfy Your Food Obsession

Are you infatuated with ice cream? Do you lust over lobster? Swoon at the sight of chocolate? Here's the best recipe for each food …

Review: Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert's Chocolate Bar Nov 16, 2012

Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert have teamed up with master chocolatier Christopher Curtin to create the "Good & Evil" chocolate b …

How-To: Chocolate Cream Puffs

Make this classic and elegant French dessert using our step-by-step guide.

How to Chop and Melt Chocolate

Lots of recipes call for melted chocolate. Follow these step-by-step instructions to do it properly.

Essentials: Chocolate Basics Sep 1, 2016

Satisfy that chocolate craving in your very own kitchen. All you need is baking chocolate and a little know-how. It also helps to …

How to Make Truffles

Learn how to make a chocolate lover's favorite treat: the classic truffle made from smooth chocolate ganache.

Easy Gift Idea: Chocolate-Covered Toffee Feb 7, 2013

Looking for an easy gift idea? Cooking Channel's recipe for Chocolate-Covered Toffee is just the ticket. A touch of coffee in the …

The Craziest Chocolate Creations for American Chocolate Week Mar 17, 2013

It’s officially American Chocolate Week. Check out photos of mind-blowing chocolate creations.