Inspired by a recipe for Wine-Braised Lamb Shanks on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (prepared at Giusti’s Place), I created this recipe for lamb shanks. A little bit of spice and acid go a long way in my version. Their idea to serve the lamb with sauced, wet polenta inspired me to serve with a grilled polenta cake.

Lamb Pizzaiola over Grilled Polenta 1

This meal is great for dinner parties, as it can all be done ahead of time. The polenta can be done a day or two ahead of time, and the lamb just sits in the oven until you’re ready to serve.


Lamb Pizzaiola
~makes 4 entrees


  • 4 Lamb Shanks (about 3 pounds)
  • All Purpose Flour (enough to coat shanks, about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 3/4 cup diced Carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced Onion
  • 1/2 cup diced Celery
  • 1 tsp. Fennel Seed, ground
  • 1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 2 tbsp. Granulated Garlic
  • 1/2 cup + 1 cup Red Wine
  • 3 oz. (6 tbsp.) Lemon Juice (the juice from three lemons)
  • 2 tbsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1 (28 oz.) can Tomato Sauce (with basil)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese to garnish


Brining Lamb

1. Brine shanks over night (at least 12 hours).

Dredging Lamb

2. Pre-heat oven to 350 deg F oven. Season shanks, dredge in flour, brown in oil and butter in a large saute pan.

Browning Lamb 1

3. Remove browned lamb to 9″ x 13″ pan. Add lemon juice and 1 cup of wine.

Uncooked Lamb

4. With oil remaining in saute pan, saute carrots, celery, and onion. Season with ground fennel seed, salt, and black pepper. After about 10 minutes, caramelize tomato paste. Stir in garlic. When well combined, deglaze with 1/2 cup of wine. Pour contents of pan over shanks.

Uncooked Lamb Tomato Sauce

5. Season shanks with half of oregano; cover with tomato sauce; then remaining oregano. Cover pan with tented aluminum foil, make a one inch slit to vent steam, cook in oven for three hours.

Braised Lamb 2

6. Serve with polenta. Garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Spreading Polenta Polenta Grilling

I followed Epicurious’ Grilled Polenta recipe, with a few modifications. First, I substituted half the onion with red onion (rather than yellow), this gave awesome color. Second, I stirred 1/4 cup of the Parmesan into the polenta before cooling. And, third, I set mine in a 9″x9″ baking dish, because we don’t own an 11″x7″ and it’s close enough in size for my taste.

Lamb Pizzaiola over Grilled Polenta 2

Lots more pictures in the Flickr set.

posted by Lon at 08:45 AM Filed under Italian, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.