Alessio’s Scottadito alla Diavola, Lamb Chops Alla Diavola

Alessio's Scottadito alla Diavola: Sauce the Chops

Alessio’s Scottadito alla Diavola: Sauce the Chops

Agnello Scottadito, which translates as finger-burning lamb, gets its name from the fact that the chops hot off the fire 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 scottadito alla Diavola, with a hot sauce that adds a very nice touch.

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 (exact description below)
  • 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)

Begin by seasoning the lamb 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.

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.

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.

As soon as the garlic begins to color, add 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.

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.

The other thing to do while the meat is cooking is prepare the garnish for the plates: Alessio decorated his plates with a lemon slice, a peeled cherry tomato, a bay leaf, and sprig of rosemary.

When the chops are done, transfer them to the plates.

Spoon the sauce over the chops, and serve.

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


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Categories: 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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