Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Barbecued Lamb Skewers (Arrosticini)

Barbecued Lamb Skewers (Arrosticini)

This finger food is very popular in Abruzzo. It is traditionally grilled over a fornacella, a shallow trough of charcoal just wide enough to cook 4 inches of skewered meat. (We use a hibachi or grill pan.) The garlic is my addition.


  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 branch of fresh rosemary
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Hot red pepper flakes (optional)


Step 1

Soak 16 bamboo skewers (8 inches long, including the handle) in water to cover for 30 minutes. Bruise the garlic and rosemary branch with the flat of a knife on a cutting board and place in a small bowl with the olive oil and a few grinds of black pepper. Set the oil aside while you prepare the lamb.

Step 2

Tightly thread cubes of lamb onto the skewers to make uniform-looking kebabs, each bearing 4 inches of meat cubes. (Leave only 1 inch of the tip of the skewer exposed.) Using the rosemary branch, brush the lamb with some of the olive oil to coat lightly.

Step 3

Sear the lamb skewers over a medium-hot grill (alternatively, use a grill pan). Cook about 2 minutes, or until the lamb is browned and a little crusty. Turn and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and place on a serving plate.

Step 4

Brush the lamb skewers with more of the olive oil, then season with salt and red pepper flakes, if using. Serve hot with a glass of red wine, such as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, and country-style bread drizzled with olive oil.

Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer — Recipe adapted from and