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Farfalle with Lamb and Peas



Buon giorno!

Bowtie Pasta with Lamb

I am always excited about Italian food, but there is something about Italian dishes made with lamb that thrills me to the “bone”. To me, lamb is the most rustic of meats used in Italian cooking. It has flavor like no other and flavors sauces, stews, and soups in a very distinctive way. Although traditional Italian pasta sauce made with lamb is always a stand out, today’s recipe, Bowtie Pasta with Lamb and Peas, is a spring/summer-like alternative to the standard pasta preparation and is simple, healthy, and satisfying.

So let’s talk more about lamb for just a moment:

Tradition: Traditionally, spring lamb is served at Easter in Italian households to herald the religious occurrence of the Resurrection and Spring itself. Fortunately, we now are able to find good spring lamb at our grocer’s, or we can order it in advance, if needed easily. In the Italian home, the roasted lamb is usually served with a lovely vino rosso, a crusty Italian loaf, and roasted potatoes and vegetables – simply prepared with simple and fresh ingredients.

Bad ju-ju: Let us not confuse sweet, tender spring lamb with mutton. If you are eating an old sheep, you know it. In such an event, let the “Baa-ing” begin. It is not sweet. It is not tasty. It is not tender. As far as I am concerned, it is simply bad ju-ju to equate the two. Mutton is a different meat entirely and our British friends can keep it.

Today’s dish: Today we’ll turn the tables a little, and look at a simple non-holiday use of ground lamb in a pasta dish. Ground lamb is usually very easy to find and far more flavorful than ground beef or turkey. Bowtie Pasta with Lamb and Peas cooks very quickly and will marry well with wine and herbs to make a lovely dish. Unlike others, this pasta preparation using Farfalle or Bowties and peas is simple, rustic, and perfect for that quick “Tuesday night meal”.

Pour a glass of vino: OK are we ready? We begin by pouring ourselves a glass of a nice white wine – perhaps using the wine you will use in the dish. (Bet you just thought I was going to say red, didn’t you?) Gotta be on your toes around here, as very few things are absolute in Italian cooking, and there are always wonderful surprises. Now, gals, kick off those stilettos and put your freshly pedicured toes up—and guys, park yourselves in that  “Lazyboy” and lose the remote control for just a moment.  Let’s watch a video  explaining how to make a quick, easy, and oh so delicious pasta dish.


Video by Tommy Hanks Photography


Serves 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes


1 lb bowtie (Farfalle) pasta – cooked according to package directions

3 Tbsp.Olive Oil

1 lb ground lamb (so much more flavor than ground beef or turkey)

1 tsp Kosher Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 cloves fresh garlic – chopped finely

1 onion – chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh Rosemary – chopped

1/2 c. – 3/4 cup white wine

2 c. peas – cooked

2 Tbsp butter

1/3 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Juice of 1/2 Fresh Lemon

1/4 c. Fresh Mint – chopped

Grated Ricotta Salata Cheese**

Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling


In the olive oil, just brown the ground lamb.Do not cook all the way through as it has more cooking to do, and it will be dry otherwise. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.Remove lamb from pan with a slotted spoon and reserve.

In the same pot with all of the juices and oil from the lamb, cook garlic and onion until tender – just a few minutes.

Add lamb back to pan. Then add Rosemary and white wine. ( Add a little extra wine if you like. – I like!) Stir a little and cook the sauce down by 1/2.

Add Peas, and butter. Stir in and let butter just melt.

Add Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh lemon juice. Stir in.

Add cooked pasta to the sauce and mix well coating all the bowties.

At this point, if you feel your pasta is a little dry, you can add a large serving spoon – or 2 of PASTA WATER (the water you used to cook your pasta)

Mix well and taste to see if you need to adjust the seasoning with more salt or pepper. This is Important!

Sprinkle with Fresh Mint and grated Ricotta Salata**

Drizzle with Extra Virgin  Olive Oil and serve.

**A word about Ricotta Salata – Recently a class participant asked me to talk more about this as it was unfamiliar. It is a form of Ricotta that is salted and dried for grating purposes. It is made from sheep’s milk and a wonderful alternative for Feta or Pecorino Romano.

Bowtie Pasta with Lamb and Peas  – Add a nice white wine to pair with this dish – perhaps a Pinot Grigio or a Chardonnay. Not so bad for a Tuesday night meal – or any night! OK, fellas, time to get out of the “Lazyboy”!


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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography







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  1. MMM? Lamb with pasta ? A new dish .I havent had this combination.
    Sounds interesting.

  2. This was fantastic, the kids and hubby loved it! Used the first fresh peas from our garden and gluten free penne pasta. Thanks!

    • Cindra – When you get the family lovin it – you have a winner! So happy to hear this recipe worked out for you. How wonderful to have the fresh peas right in the garden! Thank you!