Italian shepherds pie

Gino DAcampo puts an Italian twist on a classic British dish, using plenty of basil, sweet potatoes and parmesan cheese
By Gino D'Acampo
Italian shepherds pie
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 5 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 500 g minced lamb
  • 70 g button mushrooms, halved
  • 120 ml dry red wine
  • 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 6 leaves of basil, roughly chopped
  • 700 g sweet potatoes, chopped into chunks
  • 30 g salted butter
  • 50 ml milk
  • 150 g parmesan, grated


1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and carrots for 10 minutes, or until softened.

2. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the minced lamb and mix well (this will separate any clumps), and add to the pan with the onion and carrots. Brown the meat all over on a high heat, separating any clumps of meat with a wooden spoon. Stir in the mushrooms and stir frequently for 5 minutes.

3. Pour in the wine, then reduce the heat to medium and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the alcohol has evaporated. Add the tomatoes and basil, then season. Continue to cook, uncovered, over a medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Preheat the oven to 220C/200 fan/gas 7.

5. Cook the sweet potatoes in boiling salted water for 10-15 minutes, or until tender. Drain, then return to the pan and mash, stirring in the butter, milk and 100g of the grated parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, then stir vigorously with a wooden spoon over a low heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the mash is smooth and creamy.

6. Pour the lamb mixture into an ovenproof casserole dish and carefully spread over the mashed sweet potato, ensuring that the meat is completely covered. Sprinkle over the remaining parmesan. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and golden brown.

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