Behind the Dish: Roasted Lamb Inspired by the Renaissance Agnello Al Forno

The Tenant is back, with the story behind tonight’s Julia dish. Once again, it’s lamb, but this time roasted.

The inspiration for this dish comes from the American food writer and radio journalist Lynne Rossetto Kasper, who noted that while orange flavoring used to be highly popular in the cooking of Ferrara, Italy, during the Renaissance, it is seldom used there today, which is a shame. (A link to a video of preparation of this dish can be found here.) This dish really highlights orange zest as a flavoring with garlic, anchovy filets and basil, as well as kalamata olives. The Bistro recipe will use lamb shank, rather than the leg of lamb in the original recipe, roasted in a bath of red wine and (unpitted) kalamata olives, with salt and pepper for seasoning. The sauce is made from strong veal stock and a bit of tomato paste, and when the flavors of the roast lamb, roasted olives, sauce, anchovies, garlic, basil and orange all meld together…the result is supposed to be pow. Why not try it tonight and see?

UPDATE: Just saw Ruth and Marc…yes, they are back and they are going to be back here soon, too! Some more notes on tonight’s dish…it will include lemon as well as orange zest, and rather than the lamb being marinated in the zest, anchovies, garlic and basil, those elements will be added to the sauce. So will cherry tomatoes. The lamb will be accompanied by a Mediterranean couscous with raisins, whose sweetness will contrast with the tartness of the kalamatas, and sprinkled with chunks of feta cheese.

One more thing: the Levines didn’t have their family honeymoon in Rochester like Marc told me they did. They went to Ithaca! OK, so Marc isn’t as up on his upstate New York geography as he could be. They’ll be back here to tell you about the wedding and their adventure exploring the Wegmans supermarket in Ithaca. Later!


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