Lamb Shanks Agglassatu
2 hours 30 minutes
This dish just doesn’t photograph well! I seem to keep making this caveat every time I post a picture. This lamb dish turned out incredible!
As one would expect, our Sicilian dinner became a very seafood-heavy affair, because the island is known for its incredible fish selection. I knew some of our 16 guests would love a bit of a respite from fish at some point, so I wanted to add a meat dish to our itinerary for the Secondi course, which generally consists of meat and fish dishes.
I love lamb, so when I read about braised lamb shanks with cheese…I was sold. This dish came out wonderfully, and I am excited to make it again. It starts out feeling very much like a French braised lamb shank until, after 2 glorious hours of slow cooking, you add in a few cups caciocavallo cheese!
Generally, the sauce that you create for this dish is called Agglassatu and it is made from blending the potato stew together with the cheese, so it literally glazes the meat. The sauce is then served to top pasta in a Primi course and the meat alone served as a Secondi course. I chose to leave my potatoes intact and serve it as a stew and serve the whole situation as a Secondi alongside our Swordfish Capotana.
Just hanging out in Syracuse looking at ancient ruins!
Last month, I finally made my trip to Sicily, the glorious land of fish, beautiful food, sunshine and Greek and Roman monuments. I landed in Catania and fell in love instantly. I ate some of the best food I have ever had, and was inspired to create some really incredible flavor combinations. I love pasta, and truly appreciate the art of making fresh homemade pasta. With that said, I always consider pasta dishes as a delicious but simple thing to cook when I don’t feel like doing something complex and crazy. Fresh and simple….but…I learned that is not always the case. I ate incredible pasta dishes with complex (and frequently multiple) sauces that intermingled on my plate in an explosion of flavors and visual elements. Creamy ricotta balanced with pitch black squid ink like black snakes making their way through a white sand beach.
I was so thrilled to come home and share the incredible cuisine I experienced with our friends, and this past Saturday, I finally had the opportunity. We hosted 17 of our lovely friends for a traditional Sicilian meal, which, unlike our traditional 3 course dinners, sported four courses. As per Sicilian tradition, we started with an antipasti course of Arancini, Croquettes, and Bruschetta.
To start our meal, we made a trio of delicious Antipasti. If you are already a lover of squid ink, try my Squid Ink Bread, which we used to create a Sea Urchin and Lardo Bruschetta. Alongside the bruschetta, we served some Spinach Arancini.
We also served some incredibly delicious Milk and Cheese Croquettes (the recipe for which I will not share yet, as I am still figuring out how to prevent them from exploding while frying….the taste is divine though!).
The Primi course, which follows the antipasti, is generally formed of a pasta dish of some sort, and we did not disappoint. We served a trio of delicious seafood pastas. I created a Handmade Pasta with a Creamy and Lemony Ricotta which paired with a Squid Ink Sauce. It was divine! In addition we created a Spaghetti Nero D’Avola with a spicy tomato sauce of Mussels, Razor Clams, and Prawns. Not sure what Spaghetti Nero D’Avola means? It means I boiled my pasta in the Nero d’Avola red wine from Sicily instead of water. I saw this for the first time in Sicily, and fell in love! Our final pasta dish was one that seems a bit unconventional for Italy, but is actually a quintessentially Sicilian dish, a Seafood Couscous!
The Secondi course generally consists of meats and fishes. We served an Eggplant Caponata with Swordfish, and a delicious and slow cooked Braised Lamb Shank Stew. Perhaps it was too much food, but I couldn’t think of a single dish to remove from the list.
We finished our meal with Cannoli made completely from scratch! Stay tuned for all of our recipes in the coming days!
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3-4 pounds lamb shanks, 1 inch slice
- 6 onions, diced
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 10 cups or so beef stock
- 2 cups parsley, chopped
- 8-10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper
- 2 pounds potatoes, 3/ 4 inch cube
- 2 cups Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
- 1 cup Caciocavalli or Provolone, grated
- Season shanks and brown in oil in a very large high sided pan. Set aside
- Cook onions ion the same pan, scrape up any browned bits. 10 minutes.
Add wine and meat, cook until it evaporates.
Add broth, parsley, garlic, season lightly with salt and pepper as the stock will add seasoning.
Cook for about an hour and a half on a low simmer, covered. Stir occasionally to prevent the bottom from sticking
- Add the potatoes and cook for another 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat. If you would like to have the traditional version, at this point remove all of the meat and pulse the stew. Add the meat back in.
This can be done up to a few days in advance.
- When ready to serve, reheat and add in cheese.
Serve immediately, re-season as necessary.