Agnello al forno: A Traditional Easter Meal

Michele Scicolone (April 19, 2019)
It wouldn’t seem like Easter in Italy without lamb on the dinner table. But lamb is actually the preferred meat not only for Easter meal but throughout the Summer. Italians enjoy lamb braised, stewed, grilled or roasted. Roast leg of lamb is a classic. Serve it with seasonal vegetables such as artichokes or fresh green peas. Italians cook lamb well done, but more mature American lamb tastes best when medium-rare. Be sure to allow time for the meat to rest after roasting it so it remains juicy.

Agnello al forno

Serves: 8


2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 bone-in leg of lamb, trimmed (about 6 pounds), at room temperature

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary


Place a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the potatoes in a large roasting pan. Toss with the oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Make shallow slits all over the lamb with a small knife. Poke some of the garlic and rosemary into the slits, reserving a little for the potatoes. Sprinkle the meat generously with salt and pepper. Push the potatoes to the sides of the pan and add the meat fat-side up. Place the pan in the oven and cook 30 minutes. Turn the potatoes. Roast 30 to 45 minutes longer or until the meat feels slightly springy and the internal temperature measures 130°F on an instant-read thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, away from the bone. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the lamb to a cutting board. Cover with foil. Let rest at least 15 minutes before slicing. Test the potatoes for doneness by piercing them with a sharp knife. If they need further cooking, turn the oven up to 400°F, return the pan to the oven, and cook until tender. Slice the lamb and serve with the potatoes.

Adapted from 1,000 Italian Recipes, Wiley Publishing, Inc., by Michele Scicolone.  For more information about cooking, vist Michele’s website: 





Select one to show comments and join the conversation