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Alessi cuisine



"Caprettato" lamb, roasted at the tuscany manner, with potatoes

(Agnellino "caprettato", arrostomorto alla toscana, con patate)

  • 1 leg of milk lamb, about 1,2 kilogram
  • a mixture composed by the following herbs, not finely chopped:
    6 garlic cloves
    10-12 leaves of sage
    the leaves of a branch of rosemary
    1 glass of white wine
    10-12 spoons of olive oil
    salt and pepper
    800 grams of peeled potatoes cut in pieces like cubes
Take a small knife and make some small cuts in the meat, then fill them with a pinch of salt and pepper and some of the chopped herbs. Salt and pepper uniformly the leg, then lay it in a baking pan, well greased with oil and cover the leg with some more chopped herbs. Then cover it with a tinfoil and put the leg in the oven at 200°C for 40 minutes, turning it very often (take care to re-cover it any time). When it is well cooked (by punching it , it does not have to give off any humour), remove the tinfoil, bathe with some wine, let it evaporate always over a brisky heat and after 5-6 minutes, or alternatively when it will have a good hazel colour, take out the leg from the baking pan and keep it warm.
At its place put the potatoes in the baking pan, turn them in order they can grease well, cook for 30 minutes and when they will be tender and coloured, put over them the leg of lamb (in the meanwhile you have to cut it in big pieces) and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Take out from the oven and serve quickly, meat and potatoes together, well drained from the cooking grease.
We should give a short explanation of two uncommon words appearing in this recipe, especially out of Tuscany; "caprettato" is a slang word of the Florentine market and used to indicate the milk lambs of the Tuscany breeds: massese, senese, pisana. These breeds give origin to the very lean and small lambs, which have a very delicate taste, difficult to repeat and they differentiate from the lambs of foreign breeds which are bigger and with a more pronounced sheep taste and totally covered by a layer of grease.
"Caprettato" is also used to say that the lamb is very similar to kid and not because a he-goat has jumped into the sheep pen or a ram in the one of she-goats.
"Arrostomorto": first of all because the lamb is cooked in a closed pan, into a liquid (oil or butter-lard), so that it is not exposed to the burning fire, but to the lighted up and given off heat. This kind of cooking is exclusively applied for white meats (rabbit, veal, lamb) and it does not want to have any blood in the meat. As the blood represents the symbol of life since the antiquity, and as the above meats are cooked without blood, they recall the lack of life, that means the death, so from this meaning the word "arrostomorto" (dead roast). This term has also another meaning: it symbolically opposes, as a type of female cooking (concave container immersed in a liquid), to the roast made on a fire (grill and spit, with blood, on the air, convex), which refers invariably to the male sphere.

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati

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