Greek-Style Pasta with a Lamb and Cinnamon Tomato Sauce


My mother is in town for several days and we just so happened to have some lamb left over from some delicious burgers that we made the other night. She kept talking about a pasta dish that her mom (my grandmother) used to make for her as a kid that had lamb and cinnamon in the sauce. We scoured the web trying to find a recipe that was at least somewhat close to what my mom remembered. We found nothing and so decided to try to replicate the dish on our own with ingredients that are easy to find at your local mega-mart. What we got was something that brought my mom back several decades and was nearly spot on. So, why keep this recipe to ourselves when it would be far better to share it with others.

The sauce for this greek-style pasta is not something that you are going to be able to make in a few minutes. It will take ours but do not let that turn you away. If you think that you will be in a time crunch, prepare the sauce the night before and then when you are ready to serve it, just place it on the stove for 10-15 minutes to heat it up while the pasta cooks. The long simmer time is needed to both fully cook the meat, infuse the unique flavors of oregano, cinnamon, thyme, and basil into the meat and the sauce, and thicken the sauce down to something that goes well over pasta. Whatever you do, do not rush the sauce as you will be disappointed with the results if you do so.

This dish is great for sunday dinner or a party. The cinnamon adds quite a unique touch that will likely surprise the family and/or your guests. However, I am sure that they will be pleasantly surprised. We hope that you and your friends/family enjoy our greek-style pasta with lamb and cinnamon tomato sauce.


Nicely seared leg of lamb.

The “Greek-Style Pasta with a Lamb and Cinnamon Tomato Sauce” is served!


Greek-Style Pasta with a Lamb and Cinnamon Tomato Sauce
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
3 hr, 30 min


  • 1 boneless leg of lamb (2-3 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 6 roma tomatoes (yellow heirloom variety if you can find them)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (oregano, basil, thyme)
  • 1 large (28 ounce) can of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • 1 pound linguini
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • parsley (for garnish)


  • Preheat your oven to broil (high). Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and roast until the skins break and are brown. Remove from the oven and let cool before removing the skin.
  • Add the olive oil to your large saucepan or dutch oven over medium high heat. Then, place the boneless leg of lamb in the pan turning every 2 minutes to sear all sides. Once all sides have been seared, use your tongs to move the leg to a bowl and set aside for now.
  • In the saucepan (now containing both some lamb fat and olive oil) add the onions and a little salt and pepper. Saute the onions until they are nice and brown (about 10-12 minutes).
  • Add the garlic and herbs to the onions along with the tomatoes (skins removed). Stir constantly for 2 minutes so that the garlic does not burn.
  • Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, chicken stock, and water to the pan and mix well to bring the liquids together evenly. Cut the leg of lamb in half (or thirds if need be) and place it in the sauce. Be sure that the lamb is completely submerged (if not, just cut it down a bit more). Add the cinnamon sticks and bring to a slight boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 3-4 hours. The sauce should thicken quite a bit and be very aromatic.
  • With about 30 minutes remaining for the sauce, begin boiling your water for your linguini in a stock pot.
  • Remove the lamb from the sauce and place on a cutting board. Chop the lamb into bite size pieces and place back in the sauce for the remaining 30 minutes of cook time.
  • Prepare the linguini as per the package’s directions.
  • Once the pasta is done, put a healthy serving of pasta in a shallow bowl and cover with 2 ladles of the lamb and cinnamon tomato sauce. Sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan cheese on top and add just a dash of parsley as a garnish.
  • Its time to serve!


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