Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pasta with Braised Lamb Shanks in Red Wine Sauce

Springtime is lamb time—even if the preparation is more reminiscent of cold-weather cooking. Lamb shanks just beg to be braised, and papparadelle (pa-par-DAY-lay) begs for a rich, meaty sauce to cling to it. No matter the season, some dishes never go out of favor. I think this is one of them.

Note: I found small lamb shanks—only one-and-a-half pounds total for two shanks. If yours are larger, simply increase the braising time until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. Many recipes call for three to four pounds of lamb shanks for four servings, but I think only two smallish shanks provided a very satisfying amount, adding to the very rich wine-based sauce.

Also note: I used traditional Italian-style egg-noodle pappardelle, but you can substitute wheat-based pappardelle, or use fettuccini if you can’t find pappardelle at all.

Egg Pappardelle
Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-1/2 lbs lamb shanks (2 small shanks)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped, peeled carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups dry red wine, plus more if needed
  • 2 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 6 oz pappardelle (or fettuccine)

Lamb Shanks
Prepared Vegetables and Garlic
Egg-Noodle Pappardelle
  1. Preheat the oven to 275° F.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat and add the olive oil. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper and sear, turning a few times, until browned all over, 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add the celery, onion, and carrot to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, 6-7 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes.
  5. Return the lamb shanks to the pan and add the wine, broth, and rosemary sprigs. Bring to a simmer.

Lamb Shanks Beginning to Sear 
Seared Lamb Shanks
Vegetables Beginning to Cook
Garlic and Tomato Paste Added 
Ready to Braise
  1. Cover the pan tightly and braise in the oven until the lamb is very tender, 2 to 2-1/2 hours, depending on size. (Turn after about 1 hour and check the liquid level. If the shanks are not covered at least 1/2 of the way up, add a little more broth or wine.)
  2. Remove the rosemary sprigs from the sauce and transfer the lamb shanks to a clean plate. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bone and shred it.
  3. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly reduced, 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the shredded lamb to the sauce.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until al dente, 4 minutes (depending on type).
  5. Add the drained pasta to the sauce, tossing to combine.

Halfway Through
Braised Lamb Shanks
Shredded Lamb in the Sauce 
Cooked Pasta
Divide among 4 bowls and serve.

Pasta with Braised Lamb Shanks in Red Wine Sauce


  1. Yum! I have done a few braised lamb recipes this spring, but none in red wine. We would love this!! Pinning to try.