Lamb Shanks Italian-Style Recipe

Lamb shank
Eric Futran - Chefshots / Getty Images
  • Total: 2 hrs
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 105 mins
  • Yield: 2 servings

Lamb shanks are braised to tender perfection in onions, garlic, tomatoes, and wine on the stove-top. Do not skimp on the garlic. Cooking them whole results in a mild, nutty flavor. Serve with cooked pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes. This recipe feeds two, but it is easily doubled.


  • 2 (about 2 pounds total)  lamb shanks
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 large sweet onion (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 head  garlic (10 to 12 whole cloves, separated and peeled)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water (or more - see instructions)
  • Garnish: parsley (chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Rub lamb shanks with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.

  3. Heat a heavy Dutch oven. When hot, drizzle a thin layer of olive oil to coat the bottom. Sear the lamb shanks until browned and remove from the pot.

  4. To the same pot, add a teaspoon of olive oil and the sliced sweet onions. Toss to coat with the pan drippings. Reduce heat and cover.

  5. Sweat the onions until limp but not browned, stirring often.

  6. When they are limp, add the wine and cook for two minutes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

  7. Add garlic cloves, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine.

  8. Return the lamb shanks to the pot.

  9. Reduce heat to low and simmer, turning lamb shanks occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Add additional water if the sauce becomes too thick.

  10. Serve braised lamb shanks with cooked pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes and sprinkle with parsley.


  • Recipe is easily doubled.

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