Rack of Lamb
Crostata di Agnello

serves: 4 servings

ingredients

For the Sauce
1½ pounds lamb bones, and scraps
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup onion, chopped
¼ cup carrot, sliced
¼ cup rib celery, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh sage
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 cups chicken stock
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup water
1 cup young peas, parboiled if fresh

For the Racks
4 pounds rack of lamb
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Topping to Finish the Racks
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
1 garlic clove, finely minced
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper

directions


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Starting with the sauce, trim the lamb scraps of all fat, place together with the bones in a roasting pan, and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes, then sprinkle with the flour and roast 15 minutes longer, until nicely browned.

Meanwhile, in a large nonreactive saucepan, sauté the onion in the remaining oil for 5 minutes over moderate heat. Add the carrot, celery, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook 15 minutes, stirring and occasionally adding small amounts of stock to prevent the vegetables from burning. Transfer the browned bones and meat scraps to the vegetable mixture. Drain all fat form the bottom of the roasting pan. While the roasting pan is still hot, add the wine and water, and scrape the bottom of the pan to release all coagulated drippings. Simmer, skimming frequently, 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until liquid has reduced to about 3/4 cup. Discard the bones and strain the sauce through a fine sieve, pressing down hard on the solids to express as much liquid as possible. Return the sauce to the heat and reduce to the consistency of gravy. Add the peas before serving with rack of lamb.

For the racks, have the butcher trim them, leaving protruding rib bones 2 1/2-inches long and reserving the between-bone scraps for the sauce, but leaving the blanket of fat intact. (In profile the rack should take the configuration of the number six). Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Wrap the exposed rib bones in foil and brush a mixture of the oil and seasonings over the exposed meat. Place the racks, fat down, in a preheated roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes.

Blend all of the topping ingredients well. Remove the racks from the oven and trim away all outside fat. Spread the bread crumb mixture evenly over all surfaces of the racks and tamp down well. Return the racks to the oven and bake 5 minutes, until the crumbs are crisped. Let the racks rest off the heat for 5 minutes before serving. To serve, cut the chops apart and arrange four per portion on serving plates with sauce spooned over them.