Lamb with artichokes, a great simple classic.

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Punctually late, here a Ligurian recipe for your  Easter lunch: lamb with artichokes.

Genoa market
Liguria Lamb with artichokes

Eating lamb at Easter is an ancient tradition spread throughout Italy if not in all Christian countries. Consuming lamb at Easter symbolized the sacrifice of the innocent, of Jesus  in the Christian religion.

In Liguria lamb is often served with artichokes, a vegetable that in early spring reaches its peak in Liguria.

It’s a really simple recipe, very few ingredients because the combination artichoke/ lamb is so winning that requires little more.

I recommend to choose very well your main ingredients, lamb and artichokes. For lamb you have to rely on your butcher or to go to a butcher specialized in lamb. For example, I go to the sheep meat counter at the Oriental Market in Genoa.

For artichokes, look them in the face before buying them. They must be beautiful, beautiful as a flower (which is what they are). Turgid, full, arrogant and intractable with their leaves stretched out, green, large and firm.

Lamb with artichokes
Lamb with artichokes from the Italian Riviera cuisine

It’s a dish that requires little but proper attention. Concentrate on a good browning of the pieces of lamb, you have to feel them sizzle cheerfully and you have to turn them  from time to time. Pour the white wine, better if cold, and fades with relief, carefully scraping the bottom of the pan (these are the sugars of the meat that have caramelized and will  give taste and character to the dish).

Let it cook for long, don’t rush. The lamb is superb when it melts in the mouth like artichokes, together, at the same time, melting and confusing.

Do not let it dry too much, the sauce that will be created is delicious and can also be brought to the table separately to enrich the dish.

Liguria Lamb with artichokes

A Liguria Easter menu?

What do I prepare with lamb and artichokes if I want a traditional Genoese table for Easter?

At Easter in Genoa as a first course we make stuffed lettuce in broth.

Together with the lamb (baked with potatoes, or stewed with artichokes) usually we prepare also the famous “Cima” a bag made of meat stuffed with eggs, peas, prosciutto or ofals.

Torta Pasqualina (Easter pie)  is never missing, she is the undisputed queen of the party. Tradition wants it made only with chards, in my family we have it with artichokes (just because in spring we had plenty of artichokes available).

We finish the meal with Cavagnetti, small baskets of sweet pastry with the egg in the center and with  the inevitable Quaresimali, cookies made of marzipan and flavored with orange blossom water (I will try to post the recipe before Easter, not sure to get it though…)

For now, Happy Easter!

Traditional Liguria lamb with artichokes
Italian Riviera lamb with artichokes


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Ciao! I’m Enrica

a home cook, food researcher and experience curator born and bred in Liguria.
I study, tell, cook, share and teach Ligurian cuisine and the culture surrounding it.
Here we celebrate Liguria’s gastronomic diversity and richness through its recipes, producers, traditions and shops.

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