“This dish is one of those ones that screams comfort,” writes Carlo Grossi. “It’s bowl food, the kind you can tuck into with some soft polenta or crusty bread to mop up the sauce. It will make you feel good, both cooking it and consuming it.”
1 × 1.2 kg piece boneless suckling lamb shoulder
¾ teaspoon whole cloves
¾ teaspoon toasted fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
500g Dutch cream potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
1 onion, finely chopped
â…“ cup oregano, chopped
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
50ml olive oil
150ml white wine
350ml chicken stock
30g packaged breadcrumbs
½ cup (50g) grated Grana Padano
Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan-forced).
Cut the lamb into roughly 4cm pieces and place in an earthenware dish or roasting tin. Grind the cloves, fennel seeds and peppercorns into a powder with a mortar and pestle, then mix in the salt. Rub the mixture into the lamb.
Add the potato, onion, oregano, parsley, garlic, olive oil and white wine to the lamb. Pour in the passata and stock and mix to combine. Cover the top with the breadcrumbs and cheese and, using your fingers, push some of the crumbs and cheese into the liquid, not disturbing the top of the lamb which will form a crust as it cooks.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the meat is tender.
This is an edited extract from Ombra by Carlo Grossi, published by Penguin Random House (RRP $39.99). Available now from good booksellers, online and in-store.