Abruzzo is the region of Italy that sits side-by-side with Roma, and faces out to the Adriatic Sea with its back to the mountains. The combination of high ground and water has shaped the cuisine of Abruzzo into something of an Italian surf and turf where the fish (among 400 species) are sea bream, sea bass, whiting and mackerel. The beasts are sheep.
Abruzzo is famous for its lamb and mutton, and this is where arrosticini comes from as a classic peasant dish that dates from years gone by, but still graces the tables and barbecues of Italy today.
Making arrosticini (‘skewers‘) is simplicity itself. You just combine diced sheep with oil, seasoning and whole herbs. This is left to marinate for as long as you have, before skewering and cooking outdoors. In Italy, the grill-a-la-mode is known as a ‘furnacella,’ which is a long, rectangular, gutter-shaped grill filled with white-hot coals.
Serve arrosticini with a regional salad such as the zippy insalata all’Abruzzese.
- 700g diced lamb
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 rosemary sprigs, whole
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the lamb, oil and seasoning and rosemary in a bowl, turning over with your hands. Leave to marinate for 1 hour.
Thread the lamb onto skewers (soaked in water if using wood), and grill on the barbecue for about 5–10 mins until cooked and browned.