Lamb and Olive Pasta

Lamb and olive pasta pinit View Gallery 3 photos

This lamb and olive pasta was inspired by a recent visit to the Italian restaurant Delicia in Tallinn, Estonia. We enjoyed a delicious dish of stewed lamb pieces with olives served over tagliatelli which left us determined to try and make a version with minced lamb instead – it works great!

The dish marries the two distinct flavours of lamb and olives perfectly. The olives help to cut through the rich fatty lamb and lend a unique salty pop with each bite.

This dish goes well with a short pasta, garlic bread and glass of red wine.

Lamb and Olive Pasta

Difficulty: Intermediate Prep Time 15 mins Cook Time 30 mins Total Time 45 mins
Servings: 4



  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan to a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and fry until softened.

  2. Add the carrot and celery and fry until softened stirring to make sure they are evenly cooked.

  3. Add the garlic and fry for about 1 minute until the garlic is softened but not caught.


  4. Add the lamb mince and fry chopping up the mince with a wooden spoon. Fry until the mince is largely cooked through and broken down.

  5. Add 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1/2 tbsp allspice and the dried chilis to the mince. Stir and cook for about 1 minute.

  6. Add 2 tbsp tomato puree and stir cooking the puree a little. Add the anchovy fillets and stir breaking the fillets up with a wooden spoon to create a paste. Make sure everything is fully mixed.

  7. Add the bay leaf, 1 tbsp of fresh thyme and 1/2 cup of red wine (or balsamic vinegar if using) and cook for 1 minute to reduce the wine.

  8. Add a can of tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes.

  9. Add the pecorino romano and simmer for another 5 minutes. Season to your taste bearing in mind that the olives are salty.

    At this stage you can leave the sauce to rest as the flavour will develop over time.


  10. When you are ready to eat cook your pasta according to the packet instructions. While the pasta is cooking heat your lamb sauce and add the olives

    If you add the olives too soon the flavour and salty pop will be lost. It's best to wait until you are heating the sauce to retain the flavour
  11. Serve the pasta with a grating of parmesan cheese, garlic bread and a glass of red wine.

Keywords: lamb, olive, pasta, Italian,
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