Ricette Italiane ~ By Leelee


You may have read some time ago when the Guys were in Abruzzo at Gianluca’s home and they were having a local dish called Arrosticini. Then, most recently, there was our Ignazio dueling with skewers of Arrosticini.

I have Arrosticini and I'm not afraid to use it!
I have Arrosticini and I’m not afraid to use it!

So I thought I would write about this local fare.

Pronounced phonetically as Ah-ro (long o and don’t forget to roll your “r’s”)-sti-chee-nee, they are little cini’s that are roasted. (JUST KIDDING).

From Wikipedia:

Arrosticini are a traditional dish from the region of Abruzzo. Arrosticini (rustelle or arrustelle in the local dialects; also known as spierini or spidducc’) are typically made from castrated (I’m not going there!) sheep’s meat (mutton), cut in chunks and pierced by a skewer. It is cooked on a brazier with a typically elongated shape, called canala as it resembles a gutter.

s - ricette number 2

There are two main kinds of arrosticini: those made industrially, consisting of cubical chunks of meat with a side of 1 cm (1/2.5 inches) on skewers with a maximum length of 10 cm (4 inches); and those made by hand, for which the meat is cut with a knife in chunks of different sizes, alternated on the skewer with pieces of ovine fat (doing so provides more tenderness and a more pleasant smell). This kind of arrosticini requires meat of very high quality because it has to be cooked for a longer time.

Arrosticini originate from the food consumed by shepherds and other inhabitants of the mountainous areas in Abruzzo within the villages of Civitella Casanova, Carpineto, and Villa Celiera, who were accustomed to eating even less refined food than hard sheep meat.

Arrosticini are often accompanied by slices of traditionally home-made bread soaked in extra-virgin olive oil with large amounts of peperoncino in olio. The traditional beverage accompaniment is Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine, or — as it is done in some restaurants — a drink consisting of two parts of red wine and one part of gassosa (roughly the Italian equivalent of beverages like Sprite).

Traditionally, arrosticini are eaten with bare hands, pulling the meat off the skewer piece by piece using one’s teeth.

They are produced throughout Abruzzo, both industrially and in a home-made fashion. They are also found in other areas with large populations of Abruzzesi.

Ingredients for 4 people:

2 pounds lamb
pepper to taste
salt to taste

Preparation 30 minutes preparation + 10 minutes cooking

1. Cut the meat into small pieces (about ½ – 1 inch)

2. Thread onto wooden skewers about 10 – 12 inches long

3. Grill skewers over a moderate coal fire to prevent them from drying out

4. Season with salt after cooking

5. The meat goes well with homemade bread brushed with olive oil

s - ricette 1



Thanks Leelee.
It’s a small world. They’re merely eating shish-kabobs with wine spritzers.
Sounds Yummy! I’m going to try that the very next time Kroger has a sale on castrated sheep’s meat.

14 thoughts on “Ricette Italiane ~ By Leelee”

  1. I couldn’t help but think along those lines as I read this: “Hmmmm gotta get me some of this castrated sheep meat at Fred Meyers” But just salt and pepper? Where is the teriyaki sauce? Or the mint jelly?

  2. does castration make the meat more tender? I’ll try it next time I run into a sheep. We have Basques around here. Joanie g

  3. But Allene it’s not just Sheep’s meat. It is layered with Ovine Fat. I think you should give it a try.

    Seriously, don’t you love the differences in our cultures? With world media the way it is today, I’m hoping those wonderful differences remain.

  4. Lamb and sheep meat is differentiated as meat products in a number of ways.
    Lamb are less then 14 months old. Sheep over 24 months old. Castration is supposed to do with flavor. Testosterone in meat gives it a different flavor, one that most people do not like. ANYWAY I CHECKED THE INTERNET and there are a lot of Greek recipes. Since I started following the boys I have enjoyed learning about so many new things.

  5. I love all the comments. I wrote this because I thought it would give everyone something to chuckle about. You are so right, Marie. The differences in our cultures is amazing.

    Joan, let me know how that works out the next time you meet up with a sheep. Or will we hear about it in the news?

    Allene, where is your sense of adventure?

    Gina, Testosterone in meat gives it a different flavor? I am biting my tongue on this one. Kidding aside, interesting information. Thank you.

    1. Oh, Loretta, you have no idea how funny your comment is!!!! I’m not a cook by any means, but I do love to eat and every pound of me shows it. However, for you, I would cook. I’m sure we’d have a ball experimenting 🙂

    2. Ha, ha, ha, ha! Don’t do it Loretta! Don’t eat anything Leelee actually cooks! I thought you knew better. I could lose my favorite sparring partner that way.

      P.S. The closest we allowed her to the kitchen at the beach was to buy us lunch one day!

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