Italian Food · Main courses

Lentil and Ham Ragu


For Christmas my family roasts a turkey, glazes a ham, makes coconut rice and peas, creams greens, steams tamales, mixes cranberry sauce, fights over mum’s cornbread and chestnut stuffing and opens presents sipping on cocktails and nibbling on panettone covered in zabaione cream.

But what happens when December 26 comes along and there is still ham and turkey looming about?

Sandwiches? Maybe. Turkey curry? Possibly. Turkey fried rice? Yes, yes.
And the ham? Baked ham and eggs, frittata, more sandwiches… It all so looks the same and I am Oh. So. Bored. So this year I am suggesting we use up our ham for a big bowl of pasta with lentil and [leftover] ham ragu swimming in a deep tomato and red wine sauce that can ease us into the lead up to New Year’s Eve (that, my friends, is a whole different tale of eating).

Happy Holidays everyone!


Lentil and Ham Ragu

  • Author: BribedWithFood
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Italian Food, Main Courses
  • Cuisine: Italian


  1. 400gr pasta (penne or tagliatelle would be perfect)
  2. 1 cup (250ml) red wine
  3. 2 garlic cloves
  4. 500gr tomato passata
  5. ½ cup (100gr) puy lentils
  6. 300gr baked ham julienned
  7. 2tbsp roughly chopped rosemary
  8. 1 dried chili
  9. 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  10. Salt and pepper to taste
  11. Pecorino cheese (optional)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the garlic and chili and saute over a medium heat for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the lentils and mix to coat in the olive oil quickly.
  3. Add the red wine and let it reduce slightly (about 1 minute)
  4. Add the ham and passata.
  5. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for at least an hour adding a little water if the sauce reduces too much. If you can leave it to simmer for another 30-60 minutes then do as the more it stays on the stove the more the flavours will accentuate.
  6. Once the sauce is ready cook the pasta to packet instructions and keep 4 tablespoons of the water it’s cooked in.
  7. Drain the pasta and pour it in the pan with the sauce, the rosemary, the water you kept and mix it all over a low heat.
  8. Serve hot with a sprinkle of Pecorino if you feel so inclined.

Keywords: pasta, Italian food


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