Legendary Dishes | Abbacchio alla Cacciatora (lamb with garlic, rosemary and sage, hunter-style)


A traditional Sunday lunch dish of the Lazio region of central Italy, associated with Christmas and Easter, the suckling lamb flavoured with anchovies, garlic and herbs gives it a distinctive taste, not unlike the lamb and anchovy tradition in other parts of the peninsula.

Some cooks like to coat the lamb pieces in flour, a technique that will produce a sauce. Anchovies are optional and sage is personal. Generally this is a garlic and rosemary flavoured lamb dish.

  • 1 kg lamb leg / suckling lamb shoulder, cut into small pieces
  • 120 ml red wine / white wine
  • 9 Mediterranean anchovies, chopped small (optional)
  • 60 ml water
  • 5 garlic cloves, pounded with 3 rosemary sprigs
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • Black pepper, large pinch
  • Salt, large pinch

Brown the lamb in the oil in a pot with three sprigs of rosemary, about three minutes. Remove the rosemary sprigs. Add the rosemary, garlic mixture, toss in the meat. Add the wine, water, sage, anchovies (if using) and seasonings. Cover and cook slowly over a low heat until the meat is tender, about an hour.