Agnello Arrosto con Aglio, Limone, e Spinaci, Saltati (Roast Leg of Lamb with Garlic, Lemon, and Sauteed Spinach)

March 24, 2013Posted in:

Roast Leg of Lamb with Garlic, Lemon, and Sauteed Spinach
(Serves 6-8)

In Italy, we eat lamb very well done, but I’ve adapted my recipe for American tastes, which lean toward rare or medium meat.


2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced garlic, plus 15 whole cloves, peeled and crushed (1 bulb)
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 (4-5 pound) boneless leg of lamb
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 ½ cups white wine
Sauteed Spinach (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine the chopped herbs. mince garlic, and salt and pepper. Make 20 or more deep slits around the lamb and stuff them with the herb mixture, rubbing the remaining mixture onto the outside of the meat. Place the lamb in a casserole just large enough to hold it, and pour the olive oil over the lamb, massaging the oil into the meat. There should be some extra the collects in the bottom of the casserole. Put the lamb in the oven. If the meat is very lean, you should check on it after 15 minutes to make sure it isn’t cooking too fast.

Wait another 30 minutes, then pour the lemon juice and wine over the lamb, turn the lamb over, and add the crushed garlic cloves to the pan. Lower the heat to 350 degrees and return the lamb to the oven. For rare meat, roast it another 5 to 10 minutes. Insert and instant reading thermometer. It should say 120 degrees for rare. For medium-rare, roast another 20 to 25 minutes.

Let the lamb rest for 15 minutes before carving. Pour the juices into a gravy boat. Slice the meat, and serve with its juices and the Sauteed Spinach on the side.

Spinaci Saltati
Sauteed Spinach
(Serves 6-8)

If you can find tender, baby spinach, you can add it directly to the oil and garlic without precooking it.

4 pounds spinach, well washed, tough stems removed
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Place the spinach, with the water still clinging to its leaves, in a pot large enough to hold it. Cover and cook it over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the spinach just wilts, about 7 to 8 minutes. Drain the spinach well in a colander, pressing out the excess water with the back of a spoon.

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a medium saute pan. When the garlic begins to color, after about 5 minutes, add the spinach and cook it briefly, about 2 minutes, adding salt and pepper.