More >

Roast Lamb, Roman Style

Abbacchio al Forno alla Romana
Roast baby lamb, considered a delicacy, takes the place of honor on the Italian table. The word abbacchio refers specifically to baby lamb weighing between 15 and 25 pounds and milk-fed. Lamb is prepared in many ways; grilled on a spit, braised, stewed, and oven roasted. Romans take particular pride in their method of cooking it. Some serve it flavored with anchovies, vinegar and wine.

Serves 8


4-pound leg of lamb with shank bone attached

3 cloves garlic, slivered

3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves  

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

1 tablespoon of flour

1 1/2 cups of chicken broth

1 cup dry white wine like Pinot Grigio


Wipe the meat dry with paper towels. With a small knife make slits about 1-inch deep all over the meat and insert the slivers of garlic and rosemary. 

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, salt, and pepper and mix well with a fork. Rub the mixture all over the lamb, coating it well. Place the meat in a deep dish, cover it, and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours. 

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. 

Place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan and add the wine to the pan. Roast for 1 to 1 -1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the leg registers an internal temperature of 135-140ºF for medium rare or 160ºF for medium. Baste the meat every 15 minutes with the pan juices. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let it cool slightly. 

Carve into pieces, arrange on a platter, and pour the pan juices over the meat. Serve immediately. 

To make a gravy for the roast, skim off the top fat from the pan drippings and place the pan over two stove top burners. Over medium heat stir in 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth and stir to make a smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper and serve on the side.

This recipe is from Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites by Mary Ann Esposito.

This recipe is featured in Episode 2101 of Season 20.



  1. p s's avatar

    p s

    Roast lamb, Roman style

Leave a Comment

Looking for even more photos and recipes?
Order my latest book.

Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy

Mary Ann's newest book contains over 150 recipes, 60 gorgeous food photos, and many scenic pictures of Italy taken by Mary Ann on her travels through the years.

Order using this link and receive a signed book plate.

Available now!