Recipes & Tips

Grass-fed Lamb Pasta with Veggies and Lemon Pesto Recipe

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes

If you’re looking for the ultimate spring-inspired recipe, this light, bright, feel-good pasta from Plays Well With Butter is tossed in a lemon basil pesto sauce with easy homemade spicy grass-fed lamb sausage and seasonal veggies like asparagus, broccolini and spring peas. 

Tip: Once you begin cooking, this lamb pasta comes together quickly. Make the spicy lamb sausage first and set aside while chopping veggies and boiling pasta water.  


For the Lamb Sausage:

  • 1/2 lb. New Zealand grass-fed ground lamb (Tip: look for the Taste Pure Nature Logo)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

For the Lemon Basil Pesto:

  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the Pasta:

  • 8 oz orecchiette pasta
  • 2/3 cup shelled fresh peas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 1/2 lb. asparagus, woody ends trimmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces (can substitute broccolini)
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

To Serve:

  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)


  • 1. In a medium bowl, combine the ground lamb, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and spices. Using your hands, mix just until combined and set aside.
  • 2. Prepare the lemon basil pesto by placing all ingredients, except olive oil, in a food processor. Pulse to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides of the food processor as needed. With the processor running, slowly stream in the olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Set aside.

For the Pasta:

  • 3. Prepare the pasta by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, generously salt the water. Add pasta and cook according to package directions, stirring often.
  • 4. About 2 minutes before the pasta is al dente, add the fresh peas to the pot.
  • 5. Reserve 1 cup of starchy pasta water. Drain pasta and set aside.

To Prepare:

  • 6. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once oil is hot and shimmering, add sausage and cook until cooked through. Use a wooden spoon to break the sausage into fine, bite-sized crumbles as it cooks.
  • 7. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the browned sausage to a plate and set aside. Drain and discard any excess fat from the pan.
  • 8. Return skillet to medium heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • 9. Add asparagus and/or broccolini to the skillet, stirring to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3-4 minutes, or until tender.
  • 10. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the lemon basil pesto, baby spinach, pasta, blanched peas and browned lamb sausage. Stir to combine. If the pasta mixture needs to loosen up, add some of the reserved pasta water. If the pasta mixture is too loose, add a handful of grated parmesan. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.

To Serve:

  • 11. Portion pasta into individual bowls, topping with fresh basil, grated parmesan and red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve immediately.
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