Arrosto di agnello
Preparation - Medium
Serves 8 - 10
To prepare an Arrosto di Agnello, or roast leg of lamb, you will require:
two sprigs of fresh rosemary
three cloves of garlic
75 g or 2 1/2 oz of pancetta or fat bacon (this may be omitted if the lamb is very young and tender)
coarsely ground black pepper
one leg of lamb
1/2 cup olive oil
few drops of wine vinegar
Make sure that lamb is at room temperature.
PREHEAT the oven to 450 degrees F.
STRIP the leaves from the sprigs of rosemary. On your chopping board chop them, the garlic and the pancetta into small pieces, combining the three ingredients. Mix a good pinch of salt and black pepper into your heap of stuffing. Make cuts here and there over the leg of lamb and stuff into them this pancetta and garlic mixture.
ANOINT the joint well with good olive oil and sprinkle on more coarse salt and pepper. Put the lamb on a rack in your roasting tin and place it in a hot oven to sear the meat (20 - 30 mins), then lower the heat to 375 degrees to cook the lamb through (1 - 1 1/2 hours). Baste occasionally with olive oil which you can brush on with a sprig of rosemary and once or twice sprinkle on a few drops of wine vinegar. If your oven has a revolving spit then use that instead of the rack and tin.
NOTE: Country Tuscans like their lamb to be well cooked with a crusty salty exterior. They do not carve the joint into slices but break it into large chunks. The Tuscan cooking times are therefore much longer than French cooking times. As long as the exterior of the leg is well cooked, the degree of pinkness of the inside of the joint and the way it is carved should be a matter for the personal taste of the cook and those who will eat the lamb.