Alessio’s Scottadito alla Diavola, Finger-Burning Lamb Chops, Illustrated

Alessio's Scottadito alla Diavola: Ingredients

Alessio’s Scottadito alla Diavola: Ingredients

Agnello Scottadito, which translates as finger-burning lamb, gets its name from the fact that the chops hot off the grill are so tasty people can’t wait for them to cool, and thus burn their fingers. It can happen.

Chef Alessio Pesucci, of the Locanda il Gallo in Chiocchio, a town about 15 miles outside Florence, serves his agnello socttadito alla Diavola, with a hot sauce that adds a very nice touch, and kindly agreed to show me what he does.

To serve 4 you’ll need:

  • 2 1/2 pounds (1.2 k) lamb chops, cut about a half-inch (1 cm) thick
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, leaves only (start with a small bunch and discard the stems)
  • Seasoned salt (see next step)
  • About a half cup (125 ml) olive oil
  • A splash of white wine
  • Lemon slices, peeled cherry tomatoes, sprigs of rosemary, and bay leaves (for garnishing)
Alessio's Scottadito alla Diavola: Cooking the Chops

Alessio’s Scottadito alla Diavola: Cooking the Chops

Begin by seasoning the chops. Alessio uses salt he seasons with freshly ground black pepper and a little paprika, adding enough of the spices to turn the salt light gray. The dusting is fairly liberal — he doesn’t resalt the chops once he has cooked them.

The cooking time, for chops cut a half inch (about a cm) thick is about 20 minutes. In his restaurant he uses a lava stone grill; a regular gas grill will also work fine, as will a charcoal fire, which will also confer a pleasant smoky taste to the meat.

Alessio's Scottadito alla Diavola: Chopping Herbs

Alessio’s Scottadito alla Diavola: Chopping The Garlic

While the chops are cooking, make the sauce. Begin by chopping the garlic. Put the Oil in a sauce pan, and add the garlic to it.

Alessio's Scottadito alla Diavola: Sauté Herbs

Alessio’s Scottadito alla Diavola: Sauté Herbs

Set the sauce pan over a moderate flame and add the hot pepper. “It’s difficult to say how much,” says Alessio, “because people’s tastes and the intensity of hot pepper flakes vary.” He uses about a teaspoon.

Alessio's Scottadito alla Diavola: Further Sauté Herbs

Alessio’s Scottadito alla Diavola: Add the Parsley

As soon as the garlic begins to color, ass the wine and give the pot a stir. Continue cooking until the alcohol has evaporated and the liquid is reduced to about half what it was. Turn the heat down and stir in the parsley, give it another stir, and keep the sauce warm.

“This sauce will work well with all sorts of white meats,” Alessio says, adding that if you slice, rather than mince the garlic, it’s also a good pasta sauce: The interaction of wine and garlic makes for a creamy texture, and the sauce is called salsa alle vongole scappate, or escaped clam sauce, because the garlic slices resemble clams in shape and flavor.

Alessio's Scottadito alla Diavola: Turn the Chops

Alessio’s Scottadito alla Diavola: Turn the Chops

Keep an eye on the chops while you’re making the sauce, and turn them when they’re about half done — in other words, after 8-10 minutes cooking time.

Alessio's Scottadito alla Diavola: Plate the Chops

Alessio’s Scottadito alla Diavola: Plate the Chops

The other thing to do while the meat is cooking is prepare the garnish for the plates: Alessio used a lemon slice, a peeled cherry tomato, a bay leaf, and sprig of rosemary. When the chops are done, transfer them to four plates.

Alessio's Scottadito alla Diavola: Sauce the Chops

Alessio’s Scottadito alla Diavola: Sauce the Chops

Garnish the plates and spoon the sauce over the chops.

Alessio's Scottadito alla Diavola: Enjoy!

Alessio’s Scottadito alla Diavola: Enjoy!

And here we have it: Buon appetito!

An unillustrated version of this recipe
More about Italian lamb and other recipes


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Categories: Illustrated Recipes And More, Lamb and Kid

Author:Cosa Bolle in Pentola

Italy boasts an astonishing number of varietals, denominations, and wines, and tremendous changes are sweeping the land. New wines are being created, new DOCs are being introduced, and the existing denominations are overhauling their regulations both to reflect the practices adopted by their member wineries and to favor improvements in quality. Even the most staid and stolid region can flower seemingly overnight, emerging with exciting new wines and wineries that require rewriting the enological maps and rethinking one's positions. And, of course, recipes too, because cuisine and wine are closely intertwined and it's difficult to imagine one without the other.


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