Loretta Sebastiani

Loretta Sebastiani
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Roast leg of lamb, Umbria-style
( Agnello arrosto )

Authentic Italian recipe

The roast leg of lamb is a very tasty dish, common in the center and south of Italy. This is the recipe I learnt in Umbria during my stay. You'll need very few ingredients: lamb leg, garlic, lard, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper. The active time is very short, only for the preparation. The oven will make the remaining work!

difficulty: easy

time: 80 minutes

calories: 381 (kCal)

Ingredients / Serves 6

  • 1 1.2kg (2 2/3 pounds) leg of lamb
  • 60g (2 1/8 ounces) lard
  • Half a garlic clove
  • Fresh rosemary
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
easy recipe
preparation: 10 minutes
cooking: about 70 minutes
total: 80 minutes
How many calories in a serving?
Calories: 381 (kcal) 20 % - 1594 (kJ)
Protein: 33.4 (g) 67 % GDA
Total fat: 27.4 (g) 40 % GDA
Total carbohydrate: 0.0 (g)
Sugars: 0.0 (g)

Download free PDF version (311 download).

Roast leg of lamb recipe


  • - Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F).
  • - Chop lard together with garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • - Remove visible fat from the leg of lamb
  • - Wash your lamb leg and pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper.
  • - Make little cuts here and there in the meat using a sharp knife and put inside a little of lard-and-garlic mixture and a little piece of fresh rosemary.
  • - Grease your meat, sprinkle with salt and pepper and thread it in the spit of the oven.


  • - Bake your lamb leg, greasing it now and then, until golden.
    It may take about an hour or little more.
  • - Remove your roast leg from the oven, carve all the possible pieces of meat.
    More irregular they'll be the better it will be according to the Umbrian tradition.
  • - Arrange the pieces in the same pan in which you've picked up its fat during the cooking.

Just before cooking

  • - Bake for some other minutes to complete cooking.
  • - Serve your lamb leg hot.



  • - Don't worry if you have not the spit. You can cook your lamb leg in a baking pan. In this case turn the lamb halfway through the cooking time.
  • - If you cook your lamb leg at 200°C (400°F) you'll need more time to complete its cooking. At least 90 to 100 minutes.
  • - If you prefer to serve slices of roast leg rather than irregular pieces you'll need to get help from the butcher. In fact you'll have to buy boneless leg of lamb. In this case you'll have to make three to four cuts through lamb meat from one end to the other and place rosemary pieces and a little of lard-and-garlic mixture into these slits. Besides you'll have to tie them in place with kitchen string.
    The cooking time may also change substantially.

Menu planning

  • - Accompany your roast leg of lamb with a seasonal salad. In spring the best is baby spinach salad dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt. In Umbria (Central part of Italy) people serve roast leg of lamb accompanied by potatoes cooked in the coals or in the lamb fat. Anyway is a typical dish for special occasions, Easter lunch, birthday party ...

Useful links for this recipe

  • - More details on lamb are on our site dedicated to food and feeding: theitaliantaste.info.
  • - Consult our directory on vegetables to look for seasonal green salad you prefer.
  • - Here's the recipe for vegetarian pasta I suggest to serve before this lamb dish.

Healthy eating

  • - I calculated the nutrition facts of the roast lamb considering a leg of lamb with no visible fat.
    In this condition the roast leg of lamb recipe has 381 calories. If you don't take off its visible fat and use more olive oil, calories and fat will rise significantly.
    This lamb dish is rich in protein and fat like all meat recipes and you shouldn't eat it frequently. Remember nutritionists suggest to eat meat rarely and prefer poultry. My tip is to choose it for a special occasion.
    Anyway if you decide to eat this roast lamb frequently, please, keep in mind that:
    - most of the foods, main source of protein, should be eaten at dinner
    - it is necessary to plan very well the other meals of the day. Prefer vegetables, fruit and food source of carbohydrates (total carbohydrates are absent in this lamb stew) but in the right quantity. What about a tasty vegetarian pasta dish and fruit for lunch? do you like this proposal?
    Accompany your roast leg of lamb with raw seasonal vegetables, green salad and fresh seasonal fruit.
    You should know the Italian tradition suggests to accompany the roast leg of lamb with potatoes. But do you know how many calories, fat and protein are in 150g (5 1/3 ounces) potatoes cooked in 2 tablespoons olive oil? Your calories would increase to 577, protein to 35g, fat to 38.7g ...
    No comment :-)
    I confirm my opinion. It's better to taste it rarely.
    However there is a trick to reduce the calories and fat. I learnt it during my stage in Umbria. Prepare a mixture of olive oil and wine (3 tablespoons olive oil + 3 tablespoons wine to be stirred vigorously) with which to grease the surface of your lamb leg before and during baking. The saving is high. The counter marks: - 90 calories and - 10g of fat per head. Not bad, really? The purists will disagree but the roast leg of lamb is tasty anyway! Believe me!
  • - This roast lamb dish has no fiber intake.
  • - You should eat 3 to 4 portion of meat per week, salami portion included. Anyway give preference to poultry.


What's the right wine for " Roast leg of lamb, Umbria-style "?

Carlo and I are used to pair Vino Nobile diMontepulciano (red wine from Tuscany) with this delicious lamb dish.