Agnello Arrosto

Roast Lamb

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Preparation info

  • 4–6

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Alastair Little's Italian Kitchen

Alastair Little's Italian Kitchen

By Alastair Little

Published 1996

  • About

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.

This lamb recipe follows this method, but places the meat uncovered in an oven. Accompany with Roast Potatoes with Vinegar, Garlic and Rosemary or the Salad of Roasted Vegetables.


  • 1 small leg of lamb
  • good olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • ½ bottle wine (red or white)
  • 500 ml Chicken Broth


You will need an oval casserole or roasting dish not much bigger than the joint, and a suitably sized ovenproof serving dish. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.

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 oven for 15 minutes. Turn the lamb again and remoisten with more wine. Roast for 15 minutes more, turn and then repeat the process for one final time with the rest of the wine. The lamb has now had an hour. Transfer to the ovenproof serving dish. Moisten with olive oil and return to the oven which you should then switch off.

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.

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