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An Italian Easter At Cicchetti

Chef Aldo Zilli introduces his favourite lamb dish

Published on March 21st 2013.

An Italian Easter At Cicchetti

PASQUA (Easter) in Italy is a time for coming together with friends and family to feast and celebrate new life. Tables overflow with an abundance of culinary delights but the most important dish to serve on Easter Sunday is lamb.

It creates gourmet small plate dishes using only the finest seasonal ingredients, many of which are flown in from produce markets in Sicily and Milan

Who better to ask for a special Easter dish than San Carlo Group’s Italian celebrity Chef Consiliere Aldo Zilli? Aldo has re-created his favourite Easter dish, carre d'agnello al rosmarino (rack of lamb with rosemary), which will be available from Good Friday into the following week, at the award-winning Cicchetti on King Street West, Manchester.


The family-owned, authentic Italian restaurant is renowned for superb food and a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere, and since opening in 2010 has racked up an impressive three best restaurant awards. Cicchetti believes attention to detail is critical to its success – it creates gourmet small plate dishes using only the finest seasonal ingredients, many of which are flown in from produce markets in Sicily and Milan.

If you’d like to feast like an Italian this Easter, gather the family and head down to Cicchetti to sample Aldo’s special dish. If eating out is not an option, why not try Aldo’s recipe for yourself at home?

Here’s a tip from the maestro: “I love this cut of lamb. You can make this an impressive centrepiece if you are cooking for a dinner party: serve the lamb on top of some vegetables with the potatoes all around and some fresh herbs to garnish the lamb –  a very easy way to impress your friends and family.”

Buona Pasqua!

To enquire about reservations contact 0161 839 2233.  

San Carlo Cicchetti, King Street West, Manchester.


Rack of Lamb with Rosemary (Carre d'Agnello al Rosmarino)

Serves 8

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20-25 minutes


1.4kg (3 lb 2 oz) baking potatoes, peeled and quartered

100g (3 1/2 oz) dried breadcrumbs

Leaves of 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, chopped

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped, fresh sage

1 fresh red chilli, de-seeded and chopped finely

60 ml (4 tbsp) olive oil

900g (2 lb) baby carrots with fronds, trimmed

8 baby aubergines

4 garlic cloves, lightly bashed

8 small racks of lamb (32 chops in total)

30ml (2 tbsp) smooth mustard

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

For the gravy:

15ml (1 tbsp) balsamic vinegar

150ml (1/4 pint) red wine

150ml (1/4 pint) vegetable stock

25g (1 oz) butter


1. Preheat the oven to 190C/fan oven 170C/gas mark 5. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the potatoes; par-boil for 10 minutes and then drain.

2. In a large bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, herbs and chilli, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.

3. Place half the oil in a large roasting tin and heat in the oven for 5 minutes until very hot and almost smoking. Quickly add the potatoes, baste in the hot oil and cook for 15 minutes. Then add the carrots, aubergines and garlic. Road for about 15 minutes, until cooked.

4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large ovenproof pan and seal the racks of lamb all over for 5-8 minutes. Transfer the lamb to the oven and roast for 8 minutes for medium rare to 12 minutes for well done.

5. Remove the lamb from the oven and spread the mustard on it and then press the breadcrumb mixture on to the meat. Return to the oven and roast for a further 5 minutes. Remove and allow to rest.

6. While the meat is resting, make the gravy. Pour off and discard as much fat as possible from the pan and place on the hob. Add the vinegar to the pan and de-glaze, scraping the roasting meat 'bits' off the base. Stir in the red wine and stock and boil for 5 minutes, until syrupy. Take off the heat and whisk in the butter. Strain through a sieve and serve with the meat and vegetables.

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