Italians prepare lamb in countless ways, with speciality recipes varying from region to region. In Romagna, for instance, battered and fried lamb ribs are popular. Southern regions like Puglia favour a version of lamb alla cacciatora, made with tomato, potato and herbs, while lamb noisettes with citrus fruit and greens are a famous dish in Sicily. Sardinian lamb, which obtained Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in 2001, is often braised and cooked with local wild fennel greens and white wine. And throughout Lazio, where the unweaned lamb goes by the name abbacchio, recipes range from roasts to fricassees and rich stews, most notably among them abbacchio alla romana, mildly piquant with its sauce of herbs, garlic, red chilli, and anchovy.
The tender, savoury sauce featured here is made from lamb shoulder, the cut commonly used in recipes that call for mincing the meat, such as grilled skewers, meatballs, and stews. Served alongside polenta or with pasta, it’s a lovely alternative to traditional meat ragù, with a much shorter cooking time. It also goes well with grilled bread.