This is the leg of lamb recipe that my Sicilian grandfather made, and taught his family to make, for Easter dinner. My Aunt Fran has been preparing her Easter lamb this way ever since I can remember. It is relatively simple, always delicious, and does not involve any marinating, just a bit of chopping. You make slits in the meat and insert small pieces of parmesan cheese, garlic and parsley. The cheese melts into the meat while it is cooking, resulting in a delicious forkful of tender garlicky lamb with a bit of oozing cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
My Grandfather’s Easter Leg of Lamb
1 (3-4 lb.) boneless leg of lamb
6 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
salt and pepper
1/4-1/3 c. small pieces of parmesan cheese or more to taste
4 sprigs fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
sprinkling of garlic powder (optional)
sprinkling of onion powder (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay the lamb cut side up on a flat surface. Drizzle a little olive oil on the meat, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place 3 cloves of garlic cut into slivers on the lamb. Roll the lamb up using kitchen twine. Make slits all over the outside of the roast with a sharp knife, then insert pieces of Parmesan cheese in some of the slits, along with garlic slivers and pieces of parsley into the others. The amount needed will depend on how large a roast you are making. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the the meat and rub it all over the leg of lamb. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. It is optional to sprinkle with garlic powder and onion powder. Place lamb in a roasting pan and roast for roughly 15 minutes per pound for rare meat or until it reaches 120-125 degrees at the deepest part of the roast. Cook 20 minutes per pound for medium or 130-140 degrees. Cook longer if you prefer lamb more well done. Let rest for 10 minutes or so after removing from the oven. Then slice. Serves 8.
Note: Since posting this recipe, we have changed the method slightly. Instead of tying and roasting the cheese, parsley and garlic studded leg of lamb. We grill it to 117-120 degrees in the deepest part of the meat. Then immediately roll it in the olive oil herb bath from the previously posted recipe for Italian-style grilled leg of lamb. Let it sit 10 minutes in the herb bath then slice it and pour the herb bath over the meat. It is fantastic.