Arabic Macaroni with Spiced Lamb

This utter delight is my version of an Arabic dish called ‘macarona bil laban’ or macaroni with yogurt. It’s very indulgent, delicious pasta shells mixed with rich garlicky yogurt, served with crispy spiced lamb and chilli butter. It’s very indulgent and ready to rock in about 20 minutes. Say hello to your new comfort classic.


  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes until soft.
  2. Crank the heat up to high and chuck the lamb into the pan. Season with plenty of salt and pepper and stir-fry for 6-8 minutes until everything is a little golden and a little crispy. Drain off some of the excess fat after a few minutes. This helps it get more golden and crispy.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add 2 cloves of the garlic, 1 tsp of the Turkish pepper flakes and all the Baharat. Mix well to release the flavours.
  4. Add the red pepper paste, tomatoes and 150ml of just boiled water into the pan. Mix well. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes or until the tomatoes have broken down into a thick sauce. Check the seasoning and add more salt to taste.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta for 8-10 minutes or according to packet instructions until al dente. Drain well, keeping some of the pasta water and return the pasta to the saucepan you cooked it in. Add the yogurt, remaining garlic, 2 tbsp of the pasta water and a good pinch of salt. Mix until super creamy.
  6. Chuck the butter in a small saucepan and melt over a medium-low heat. Add the remaining Turkish pepper flakes and a good pinch of salt. Swirl around so it goes all bubbly and then remove from the heat.
  7. To serve, tip the pasta onto a serving plate and top with the lamb. Drizzle over the melted butter and scatter over the pine nuts and parsley. Grab your bowls and dive on in.


serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
320g lamb mince (10-15% fat)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp Turkish pepper flakes
1 ½ tsp baharat
1 tbsp red pepper paste or tomato puree
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
350g pasta – I use shells
150g Greek yogurt
20g butter
15g toasted pine nuts
A handful of finely chopped parsley leaves
Salt and pepper

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