Abbacchio alla Romana (Roman-Style Lamb)
This is one of the quintessential spring dishes in the Capital of Italy, 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, balancing the richness of the lamb.
About 2 Â¼ pounds (1 k) lamb chops
Â¼ cup olive oil
2 salted anchovy filets, rinsed and boned (use three canned 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 sautÃ© 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.
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.