L’abbacchio romano, Roman Lamb Roast


In ancient times, lamb (or abbacchi in Italian) was destined as food for Jewish people and the poor, because their meat was considered low-level. Today the culinary traditions of Sardinia and Abruzzo Lazio are mainly made up of lamb, which is typically eaten not only for Easter, but also for Christmas. Abbacchio is the term for a young lamb which still feeds on milk: its meat is very tender and it is traditionally (especially in Rome and the rest of Lazio) prepared during the Easter celebrations of the Belpaese.

The term "abbacchio” is the Italianization of the Latin word "baculum" (meaning near the stick). The baculum was the wooden stick in the ground, where the baby lamb were tied up, to make sure that they did not run away and to make sure that their mother always remained close by to feed them. With time, the term "abbacchiare" became Lazio slang to say to beat or kill with a stick, until it formally became part of the Italian language where the word is used as an adjective to describe a person who is upset or distraught. An ancient tradition that has given rise to more than a hundred historical dishes, among which the famous lamb roast with diced potatoes, lamb chops and the lamb “alla cacciatora”, which arouses real tasteful emotions.


1 kg of lamb

100 ml of white wine

4 rosemary sprigs

4 salted anchovies

A couple sage leaves

4 spoonfuls of olive oil

100 ml of white wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves

Salt and pepper



Marinate the lamb overnight in olive oil, white wine and rosemary. In a baking pan, place the olive oil and roast the lamb over high heat. Add the rosemary, sage, garlic, salt, pepper and stir to enrich the flavor. Pour the wine and the vinegar and let it evaporate, then add a glass of boiling water, cover it with aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven at 180C degrees for about 45 minutes. While the lamb finishes cooking, take a few tablespoons of the meat’s natural gravy, put it in a small saucepan and let the spineless and salt less anchovies dissolve in it. When they dissolve, pour the sauce over the meat, letting it season the meat until it is done cooking.

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