Most Italian roasting has evolved from a form of cooking not unlike pot-roasting: the meat never went near the oven, indeed until relatively recently few Italian homes had ovens. Meat was typically browned in a casserole, various flavourings were added, it was moistened with wine, and then cooked over a medium to low heat, and basted regularly. With the exception of veal, meat is nearly always very well done.
You will need an oval casserole or roasting dish not much bigger than the joint, and a suitably sized ovenproof serving dish. Preheat the
Rub the lamb with olive oil and season it copiously. Put the lamb in the roasting dish, skin side up, add the herbs and put in the oven, adding a little extra olive oil. After 15 minutes turn the lamb and moisten with a glass of wine. Return to the
Reduce the wine and juices in the roasting dish, and add the broth, then boil vigorously until syrupy.
Remove the lamb from the oven, pour any juices into the reduced wine in the roasting dish and sieve this gravy into a sauceboat. Carve the lamb as normal, then serve with the sauce. This recipe is particularly good done with lamb shanks or a shoulder; both will typically need an extra half an hour.
© 1996 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.