Even those who claim they don't especially like lamb will no doubt love these little bundles first created in Abruzzo, Italy. They are filled with a flavorful stuffing and smothered in a white wine and tomato sauce for a hearty, satisfying dish. The lamb rolls can be assembled up to 8 hours in advance and refrigerated until ready to cook.
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped
3 oz. Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
8 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
6 Tbsp. fresh bread crumbs, preferably homemade
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup Lamb Stock (or water)
1 (28 oz.) can peeled whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
Generous pinch of Nirmala's Wild Fire Chili Blend, or crushed red pepper flakes
In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil and cook the bacon over medium-low heat until crisp, turning once. Lift the bacon from the pan and drain. Leave the fat in the pan. Chop the bacon very finely and set aside.
In a bowl, combine half the garlic, the eggs, cheese, 6 tablespoons of the parsley, the bread crumbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, abundant pepper, and the bacon. Stir the stuffing well.
Cut the lamb into 8 equal pieces (avoid areas with lots of tough connective tissue and reserve this abundant scrap for lamb stock). Cover each piece with plastic wrap and, using a meat mallet or the bottom of a small, heavy skillet, pound the lamb into rectangles about 1/4 inch thick (see "Tip" below). Lay a piece of lamb, with a short side facing you, on a work surface and spread 3 heaping tablespoons of stuffing on the lamb, distributing it evenly up to 1/2 inch from the three nearest edges and 1 inch from the far edge. Lightly pat the filling into place. Carefully roll the lamb away from you into a roll. Repeat with the remaining lamb and stuffing. Tie the rolls by wrapping butcher's twine around them 2 or 3 times and set aside.
Salt the lamb rolls. Heat the reserved skillet over medium-high heat and, working in batches, brown the rolls on all sides, about 10 minutes per batch. Add a little more oil to the pan if needed. Transfer to a plate and set aside. If the stuffing leaks slightly and begins to burn, scrape the skillet and remove the browned bits.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until pale gold at the edges, about 8 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute more, stirring. Add the wine and simmer for 3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the skillet to loosen any browned bits. Add the stock, tomatoes, chili blend, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer.
Add the lamb rolls and any accumulated juices to the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook at a bare simmer until tender, turning the rolls and basting them every so often, about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the lamb rolls and set aside. Raise the heat to high and cook the sauce at a rapid simmer until concentrated but still pourable, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, snip and remove the twine from the rolls. Divide the lamb among serving plates and smother with the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and serve.