Roman Roast Leg of Lamb with Orzo

Roman Roast Leg of Lamb with Orzo

While we love to create new recipes to showcase our featured ingredients, there are certain classic preparations that bring our taste buds to life.  This is a classic roast leg of lamb with an Italian twist.  The lamb is roasted with garlic, anchovies, fennel onions and tomatoes, and while the lamb sits, orzo is baked in the pan juices.  Che buon gusto!

6 servings


1 5-6 pound leg of lamb, bone in
4 cloves of garlic, cut into slivers
8 anchovy fillets, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 bunch rosemary sprigs
3 tablespoon3 extra virgin olive oil
4 cups plum tomatoes, diced (you may substitute high quality canned San Marzano tomatoes if tomatoes are not vine ripened and naturally red through and through)
4 cups rich chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup thinly sliced onions
1 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
1 cup water
2 ½ cups orzo
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Freshly grated parmesan cheese


Large roasting pan (12 x 15 inches)


Preheat oven to 400° F.

Using a paring knife, Cut away most of the surface fat from the lamb. Cut slits into the lamb all over with a paring knife and insert a sliver of garlic and a small piece of anchovy into each slit. Rub the lamb all over with olive oil then season with thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper to taste.

[Chef’s Note: If you prefer, you may omit the anchovies and stuff sprigs of rosemary into the slits along with the garlic.]

Place the lamb in a shallow roasting pan and scatter slices of onion and fennel around it; bake for around 20 minutes or until well browned on top.

Lower the oven temperature to 350° F. Add the tomatoes and water and cook, basting often, for about one and one half hours or until cooked to the desired degree of doneness.

[Chef’s Note: Lamb is best served medium-rare. Spring lamb is young, which makes the meat very tender on its own, and it would best be enjoyed pink. For a lamb roast, a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the lamb should read 140° F for medium-rare, and 155° F for medium.]

Remove the lamb to a heated platter and cover loosely with foil.

Prepare the orzo:
Add the chicken broth, wine and orzo to the roasting pan and stir. Continue baking until the orzo is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the oven and mix in the basil.


Carve the lamb and serve with orzo, passing grated Parmesan to sprinkle over the orzo.

Recipe by Jennifer Urda