Roast butterflied leg of lamb with vignarola (Roman springvegetable stew) and pesto sourdough crumbs Serves 4
1 butterflied leg of lamb 1 sprig rosemary 6 garlic cloves 1tbspn sea salt
2 globe artichokes Juice of 2 lemons (for acidulated water)
3 slices sourdough 1tbspn fresh pesto
2 finely sliced red onions 50ml olive oil 150ml white wine Juice of 1 lemon 1 sprig rosemary 200g baby broad beans 200g garden peas 1 radicchio, cut into slim
3tbspn fresh pesto 200ml Greek yoghurt
Preheat your oven to 200˚C/400˚f/gas mark 6. Stud the lamb with rosemary and garlic, then sprinkle with salt. Roast on a tray for 15 minutes, turn the temperature down to 180˚C/350˚f/gas mark 4 and roast for a further 15 minutes if you like your meat rare (adjust cooking time accordingly for medium or well done). Allow the lamb to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
While the meat cooks, remove the stiff outer leaves from the artichokes until you can see pale-yellow leaves all around—dip the artichoke in acidulated water (water with the juice of the lemons) as you go, to prevent it from turning brown. Cut the stems off, then cut the tops about halfway down to reveal purple inner leaves and the choke. Scoop out the choke with a teaspoon, then tidy loose leaves with a small paring knife until you’re left with only the artichoke hearts. Cut into even-sized wedges and set aside in the acidulated water until ready to use.
Using a food processor, create breadcrumbs from the sourdough and tablespoon of pesto, then fry them in a hot pan with a little olive oil until brown and crisp. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Next, gently cook the red onions in a pan with the olive oil to maximise their sweetness. Once soft, add the white wine, lemon juice, rosemary sprig and artichoke wedges. Simmer gently until tender, then stir in the broad beans, peas and radicchio. Cook for a further few minutes. Stir the remaining pesto through the yoghurt to create a sauce.
Slice the lamb and serve with the vegetable stew, topped with a sprinkling of sourdough crumbs and with the pesto sauce on the side.
Globe artichokes are often overlooked because preparing them can seem a daunting task. Here, I’ve tried to dispel that myth and show how simple it can be