Sunday, 19 June 2011

Agnello Pasquale con Piselli (Traditional Lamb with Peas)

 Amongst the strawberries and the curly cale, grow my peas...

I was watching a show on TV, a couple of weeks ago. A chef, who I really like, was in Puglia, in a beautiful old farmhouse, and he announced he was going to make "Agnello con piselli" "Lamb with Peas." I got quite excited, as this is a favourite Easter Monday dish, in Puglia, made with lamb, peas,onions and eggs. It's really delicious and "Green". In fact, the local name for this dish is "Verdetto" ("verde" meaning green, in Italian.)

I was very disappointed when the chef, a really sweet Italian man, who lives and works in England, rather than produce the original dish, from my region, made a dish which consisted of: meat, carrots, potatoes, onions, peppers, some peas, lemon, vinegar, white wine... and the list continues: thyme, rosemary and  tomatoes! Oh, yes! And five anchovy fillets!

So, I decided to cook and post the real, original recipe for Lamb with Peas, Il Verdetto di Pasqua (Easter Green Lamb and Peas.) This dish is eaten on Easter Monday (Lunedi` dell'Angelo) and it is made using ingredients available in Spring: lamb, peas (possibly fresh) and eggs. Nice and simple and very traditional. Like any great Italian dishes, just a few ingredients combined to produce intense Mediterranean flavour.

Agnello con piselli

(Lamb with peas)
Serves 4
8 Lamb chops
5 generous glugs oil
1large onion, chopped or sliced
1 glass white wine
450 g ( about 1 lb) fresh or frozen peas
2 eggs, beaten
black pepper
chopped parsley.

I used lamb chops for this dish (use any cut as long as the meat can be cooked quickly.) I sliced my onion quite roughly. I then put some olive oil in a large frying pan (a saucepan is fine, too.) When the oil became really hot, I put in my onion, stirred and browned. At this point I added the lamb and, again, I let it brown on a high heat.

When the lamb started to look really golden, I added a small glass of white wine and let the whole thing simmer and reduce. If it looked dry, I would add half a glass of water and, eventually, some salt and lots of black pepper, because I love it!
When you knew my meat was almost done, I added all the peas, stirred and added some water ( just half a glass or so.) I covered the pan and let my dish simmer, until all the ingredients were cooked.

almost done!

In a small bowl, I whisked two eggs, added some parsley, then lifted the lid off my pan and poured the beaten egg over the lamb and peas.

eggs with parsley and some salt

I mixed everything together, seasoned again and then I just couldn't help but take a deep breath in, to inhale the fantastic combination of flavours and aromas. The black pepper and the parsley predominant, always a super "Duo!" What a delicious dish! Certainly a tradition to preserve and hand down!

Agnello con Piselli


  1. Hi Anna, to me this seems a strange combination, well I think its fine until the addition of the eggs, do they not curdle with the wine? Perhaps this is the idea? Anyway, I trust you and believe you when you say it is wonderful. I will have to try it for myself won't I? I forgot to say earlier, thankyou for the information on the carnations, I shall look at them differently from now on! Love Linda x

  2. Hi Linda and thanks for a constructive comment. By the time the egg is added, there is no wine left, as it would have evaporated. You can have this dish without the egg, as it still tastes delicious.
    I guess using eggs in some dishes ( I can think of vegetable and fish dishes where egg is used in the same way)is something we got from our Norman ancestors, in Bari, the Norman City where I was born(Remember Social History?) I can think of at least one French dish, Piperade, where eggs are used in the same fashion.
    Thank you again for the interesting comment, Linda, and I promise not to tell you about what we do with octopus, sea urchins and shellfish!



  3. I love the sound of this traditional recipe Anna.
    Thanks for your lovely comments on News From Italy about the lizards.

  4. I believe it to be a very old recipe. Lindy, I really love reading about your life in Italy, and... I love lizards!



  5. I never knew pees would go good with meat? The best combo for me is eggs and bacon. You can't beat that classic.