Abbacchio alla Romana, Roman-Style Lamb

This is one of Rome’s quintessential spring dishes, and well worth getting excited over. Don’t let the presence of anchovies throw you; they serve primarily as salt and will blend into the flavors of the dish quite well.

To serve four you’ll need:

  • About 2 1/4 pounds (1 k) lamb chops
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 salted anchovy filets, rinsed and boned (use three canned filets if need be)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • The leaves from a sprig of rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the lamb chops and pat them dry.

Crush one of the cloves of garlic and sauté it in a pot with the olive oil until it begins to color. Add the meat and cook, turning the pieces, until all are browned on both sides. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and cook over a moderate flame until done, about an hour in all.

In the meantime grind the rosemary leaves in a mortar (or whir them in a blender) with the remaining clove of garlic and the anchovy filets. Add the vinegar to the mixture and mix well.

As soon as the lamb chops are nicely browned and cooked to your liking remove them to a warmed platter. Stir the rosemary mixture into the pan drippings. And as soon as the vinegar has evaporated, spoon the sauce over the meat.

I would serve this with a deft Barbera, accompanying it with classic Roman artichokes and a tossed salad. If I also wanted a first course I might think of spaghetti all’amatriciana.

More about abbacchio and agnello, Italian lamb.

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Categories: Lamb and Kid, Recipes from Rome & Lazio, Cucina Romana e Laziale

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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