Perfect Pairings: Lamb Bolognese and an Italian Red

Ally I

Alice D’Antoni Phillips, author of “Ally’s Kitchen, a passport of adventurous palates” has been on an inspiring journey. Her warm and engaging personality is just the tip of the iceberg, as she draws people in with her Boho charm, effervescence and culturally inspired recipes.

I am cooking from Ally’s book and recipe file this week and pairing the dishes with VinoVersal’s delicious Italian reds from the Salento region of Italy. It’s been a joy to work with Ally on this project and I am filled with gratitude at the gracious nature with which she has given her time.

I chose to prepare this recipe first, simply as a matter of timing. Jamie Peha of TableTalk Northwest had sent me an invitation to attend a lunch / demo of the American Lamb Board at Tom Douglas’ Hot Stove Society in Seattle. All of us in attendance worked in teams of two, to bone out a leg of lamb and we then divided the meat to take home. Lamb was on the menu and I had an entire cookbook full of recipes, courtesy of Ally.

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This recipe feeds a hungry crew, with enough sauce for 8 and freezes beautifully. It’s thick, gorgeous in color and the aroma will make you impatient to taste it. I didn’t have any trouble pairing this with a wine as it holds up well to a great Italian red.

I have made a few changes to the recipe, as all of our palates are different. A few of the subtle changes were due to what was in stock in my pantry, in my garden and what was available at the market, Spooner Farms, where I did a bulk of the shopping for this lovely dish.

The recipe calls for Italian Seasoning and it’s not something I keep. I have dried oregano and marjoram in my pantry and fresh basil, rosemary, thyme and sage in my herb garden.

Red chili flakes are not in my cupboard, so I improvised. I used 1/6 of a cup extra virgin olive oil and 1/6 of a cup extra virgin olive oil infused with red pepper. (1/3 cup total) When flavor testing, I added just a bit more of the infused oil, to taste. See the photo journey below!! 

Lamb Bolognese

  • Difficulty: moderate
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FullSizeRender (8)Ingredients

  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet onions, cut in chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon course ground pepper
  • 1/6 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/6 cup extra virgin olive oil, infused with red pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground meat, 1 pound lamb & 1/2 pound beef (any combination)
  • 1/3 cup genoa salami, diced
  • 1 jar ( 25 ounce ) marinara sauce, plus 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 medium fresh basil leaves, chopped small
  • Fresh rosemary and thyme to taste
  • 1 can ( 12 ounce ) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

For Garnish:

  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Fresh Basil, sliced or whole. Your choice.


  1. Add carrots, onions, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil to a food processor and grind into a paste-like consistency.
  2. In a large pot, over medium heat, add ground mixture and saute for about 5 minutes. Add meat and brown for additional 5 to 7 minutes. Add salami, blend well.
  3. Add marina sauce and add two cups of water to the empty jar. Swish, swirl and empty in to your pot. Add dried and fresh herbs, tomato paste and stir well. Bring to a good simmer, and continue for about 20 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Reduce heat, cover with lid and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add Parmigiano Reggiano blend in, reduce heat to low and simmer until ready to serve.


Pairing: I have paired this sauce with Primius Primitivo Di Manduria 2013. The smell is typical of Primitivo, with ripe cherries and confectionary as the dominant impression.  The taste is in exemplary balance and fills the mouth refreshingly.  It has been in barrels for six months.  The color is medium.  Pairs with roasted meats, green salad and good pasta. Information:  100% Primitivo Serve:  68-70 F.  Should be decanted 1-2 hours before serving.  Drink now until 2019  Ordering information:

You can find Ally’s original recipe here.


One thought on “Perfect Pairings: Lamb Bolognese and an Italian Red

  1. Karie!! You have no idea how HONORED, no freakin’ honored I am that you made my Lamb Bolognese. And, now I have a perfect pairing w/the Italian Red wine! These photos are stupendous. I wish I was there to break bread w/you, luv! xoxo Thank you!

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