Roman spring lamb

Cooking time: 1 hour
Difficulty: easy
Abbacchio alla romana

Chop the leg into pieces or ask the buthcer to do this for you. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F. Dust the pieces of lamb with flour. Heat the oil in a wide roasting tin, add the lamb and cook over a high heat, turning frequently, for about 10 minutes until browened all over. Season with salt and pepper, add the rosemary sprigs and sprinkle with the sage and garlic. Turn the pieces over several times so that they soak up the flavour. Mix together the wine and vinegar, add to the roasting tin and cook until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. Add 150 ml / 1/4  pint boiling water and the potatoes, cover and roast for 30 minutes or until tender. If the gravy seems to be drying out, add a little hot water mixed with white vinegar. Transfer the lamb to a warm serving dish and serve while still hot. For an even tastier alternative, omit the potatoes, and when the lamb is nearly ready transfer 2-3 tablespoons of the gravy to a small pan, add three boned and chopped salted anchovies and cook over a low heat, mashing the anchovies with a wooden spoon until they have almost disintegrated. Mix well, pour the sauce over the meat and roast for a few minutes more before serving.


Coll. (2010), "The Silver Spoon", Phaidon, 742

Suggested wine
IGT della Svizzera Italiana
Fr. 33.00

Serves 4

  • 1 kg / 2 1/4 lb leg of lamb
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 175 ml / 6 fl oz white wine
  • 5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 4 potatoes, sliced
  • salt and pepper