Arrosticini – Italian lamb skewers
What food do you associate with summer vacations? Surely, many, without hesitation, answered: “Kebab!” But did you know that Italy can also boast of its performance of barbecue?
Arrosticini (Arrosticini) is a lamb dish typical of the Apennines, particularly in the Abruzzo region. It is impossible to visit Abruzzo and not try the traditional arrostichini! They are valued not only in Italy, but also far beyond its borders. “They feed us well here,” you might think. But do not rush to be so categorical. Arrosticini is not just skewered meat. This is the quintessence of the sophistication and simplicity of Italian cuisine in one dish.
Today, the Arrosticini are one of the most famous and important symbols of the cuisine of Abruzzo. They can be found practically throughout the region: from mountains to the coast. But where exactly did the Italian kebabs first appear? There are several historical versions of the origin of the Arrostichini that attribute the authorship of this popular dish to two provinces: Pescara and Teramo. According to the historian Francesco Avolio, the area between the birth of kebabs should be considered the territory between the municipalities of the Voltigno plateau, namely Farindola, Villa Celiera, Civitella Casanova, Civitana Catignano and even Pianella. These communes are currently part of the province of Pescara, but for a long time they belonged to Teramo. It is assumed that the Arrostichini first saw the light of the year 1930 thanks to the shepherds. They cut into pieces the meat of an old sheep, strung it on wooden skewers and fried it on an impromptu barbecue.
As the last, the shepherds came up with a piece of a drainpipe with coals. Therefore, until now, the grill used to make arrostichini is called “canala” because of its resemblance to a gutter. But in different territories you can find such terms for brazier as fornacella, furnacella, rustillire.
In the local dialect, the Arrostichini are also referred to as rustell ’or arrustell, as well as spiedini or spidducci. Description of the dish Original arrostichini are always made from lamb (both from lamb meat and from older castrated animals).
On a wooden skewer, pieces of meat alternate with pieces of fat. There are 2 main types of dishes: industrial (produzione in serie) – even meat cubes with a side of 1 cm, strung on wooden skewers no more than 20 cm long; hand-made (produzione manuale) – meat is cut with a knife into pieces of different sizes, alternating them on a skewer with lamb fat, which makes the kebab soft and aromatic. The last type of arrostichini is preferred among gourmets. It is believed that it requires very fresh and high-quality lamb in connection with a longer cooking process.
Today, arrostichini, in addition to the classic, are offered in different taste options. For example: spicy or with the addition of natural flavors such as truffle oil. In the past few years, cooks have shown increasing loyalty to non-traditional types of dishes.
Therefore, on sale you can find arrosticini from turkey, chicken and pork. Liver kebabs are also gaining popularity. In the dialect of the Abruzzo region they are called “fecte”.
In them, slices of the liver alternate with onions and bay leaves to reduce the specific smell of offal. Traditionally, arrostichini is accompanied by slices of homemade bread soaked in olive oil with plenty of hot pepper. The most suitable wine is Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo). They eat meat directly from the skewer, removing it with their teeth. Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Food Arrosticini is included in the list of Food products of traditional Italian cuisine (P.A.T.).
How to cook?
The classic Arrostichini recipe seems simple enough. But you should know some nuances to bring the dish to the ideal. Cooking begins with the processing of lamb. With a sharp knife, remove the greasy areas, and cut the meat into cubes with a side of about 1-2 cm. Tentatively: a piece should recede from the skewer about 1 cm to the side. The resulting cubes are strung on skewers along with pieces of fat (about 25% of the total mass of barbecue).
The latter makes the dish more fragrant, soft and juicy. We cook arrostichini on the grill, in the oven or in a grill pan until a crisp appears. Do not overcook to avoid drying. Remove and salt to taste. For flavoring, hot meat can be laid on sprigs of rosemary. Arrosticini is a dish that is best consumed immediately. If necessary, store in the refrigerator in a tightly closed container for no more than 2 days. Freezing is not recommended. An Alternative Chicken Recipe Of course, for a true Italian, arosticini is always associated only with lamb. Not all Russian people have the same love for this aromatic type of meat.