About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Roast Easter Lamb with White Wine | Main | Pan Roasted Lamb with Juniper Berries »

Abbacchio - Baby Lamb, Pan-Roasted Roman Style

Here's the sad story of my baby lamb:

When we first got our list of recipes last spring, I looked ahead to see if I had anything that I better be looking ahead that might need seasonal ingredients. "Baby lamb. Hmmmmm, sounds like a spring thing", I thought.

I went to my monthly book club meeting, and asked, "Where do you think I can find a baby lamb?" Elizabeth said, "My son-in-law, from Italy, has an organic farm restaurant in Redlands, (about an hour away) and he has great farm sources. I will ask him to email you."

Then next day, I got a lovely email from Roberto Argentina, founder/executive chef at Farm Artisan Foods. He was born in Brindisi, Italy, and grew up on a farm that had been in his family for generations. He attended university in the U.S. and in 1988 moved to the west coast. He lived in a school bus in Venice, CA while working under chef Joachim Splichal at Patina in Los Angeles.

Roberto assured me he had just gotten a three week old baby lamb, and it was in his freezer. I told him what I needed (shoulder with some loin attached), and he said he would keep it for me when he butchered the lamb. There was no rush to pick it up. I told him I wouldn't actually be cooking the lamb until much later. I thought, "He has more freezer space than I do!" I felt I had scored a major coup.

About a month later, as I was cooking ahead the recipes that would be posted during my weeks in Bologna, I thought I would pick up the lamb, as we would be driving through Redlands. I emailed and made arrangement to pick up the lamb on the following weekend.

On Friday, I got a big apology email from Roberto. He was out of town for 3 days. When he came back, he found that his assistant chef, had decided to feature the baby lamb as a special on the menu, and they sold it ALL! No more baby lamb!

Alas, I got the best lamb I could from Bristol Farms: loin and shoulder.

When Jerry and I were in Rome in June, I ordered "Abbacchio" for dinner one night.


It tasted like grilled lamb. NOW let me tell you about Marcella's Abbacchio!

The recipe is fun to make. You use either lard, olive oil, butter and vegetable oil, or all vegetable oil for the cooking fat, browning the 3" pieces of lamb. Salt, pepper, chopped garlic, rosemary, and sage are added. A tablespoon of flour is sifted over the meat and tossed. Then you add wine vinegar and water and let it all simmer until tender. (about an hour)


When the lamb is almost done, you make an anchovy sauce with some of the pan juices, water and chopped anchovies, smashed in a double boiler. This is stirred into the lamb the last 2 minutes of cooking.


This is the most flavorful lamb I've ever had! I LITERALLY licked the serving utensils, and wanted to lick the platter and pot! What a treat!
AMAZING! I will definitely be adding this to my favorites! It was wonderful with some pumpkin polenta.

Happy Thanksgiving to Marcella, Victor, and all the Pomodori!


Comments (4)

Well I am drooling over my iPad right now. It looks gorgeous Palma and what a pretty presentation.


Beautiful, Palma! The flavor is because of the secret power of anchovies. There is something very magical about what happens when melted anchovies are an ingredient in a sauce. Magical. I LOVE anchovies.

YUM It looks wonderful. Lamb is one of my favourite things to eat. I think I need a drive out to 'my' lamb farm to pick up some deliscious cuts.

Marcella Hazan:

A lovely job of cooking, you did Palma, and a most persuasive post, as you can tell from the responses. I have a serious problem with lamb. Baby lamb? Fuggetaboudid! But I can't even get good young Colorado lamb or Ontario lamb. It comes either from New Zealand or Australia, and sometimes smells and tastes of mutton. Occasionally, for a two-week period, Whole Foods has good lamb from Iceland.

Your Roberto Argentina story sounds very Italian. I have had many similar experiences in my country.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 20, 2010 5:02 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Roast Easter Lamb with White Wine.

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