Lo Spezzatino d'Agnello "Lamb Stew"
Although "la carne d'agnello" (lamb meat) is a traditional Italian Easter dish, it is an ancient, biblical delicacy also part of the Greek and Hebrew's culture and cuisine. The exquisite, tender meat, which is lean and has low, zero fat, is mostly flavored with rosemary, lemon, garlic, sea salt, pepper and white wine and let to rest (refrigerated) for a few hours before choosing a cooking method--stew, on the grill or in the oven. Below is the "spezzatino d'agnello" (lamb stew), that I normally make on the gas stove by sautéing garlic, onion, red potatoes, carrots and celery in that order; then, I add prosciutto di Parma, lamb meat cut in cubes (1/2 inch), a little white wine (always Italian!), a couple of bay leaves and fresh parsley. I pour a little water, enough to cover the meat and let it cook at low temperature for 10-12 minutes before adding the fresh peas. Normally the cooking time for lamb stew is 15-20 minutes per pound. As I learned from my mother's culinary skills, I am not used to time the cooking or preparation of any dish. So, I stir the lamb. I look at the color and texture of the meat and savor it. When the lamb is tender enough, I turn off the heat and let it rest before I serve it. My guests' enjoyment of this delectable dish is my reward. On a personal note, "lo spezzatino d'agnello" is also my husband's favorite dish. He learned how to love lamb meat when he finally found someone who showed him what he had been missing all his life. Yes, he is a very lucky man!