- 3 3/4 cups cubed day-old bread
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large shallot
- 2 ounces pancetta, finely diced
- 2 ounces mortadella, finely diced
- 8 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1 cup lamb broth (see headnote)
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Freshly ground pepper
- One 4 1/2 - to 5-pound leg of spring lamb, butterflied, with the shank bone left in
- Kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Toss the bread with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until dry and brown.
- In a small skillet, warm the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the shallot, pancetta, mortadella and sage and stir over moderate heat until the shallot is soft, about 5 minutes.
- In a bowl, combine the toasted bread with the lamb broth and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the pancetta mixture along with the cheese and mix well. Season the stuffing liberally with pepper.
- Open the leg of lamb and season the meat with salt and pepper. Spread the stuffing over the meat and then re-form the leg, patting it into an even cylindrical shape. Tie the roast at 1-inch intervals and place in a small roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper.
- Roast the leg of lamb on the top shelf of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes, basting with the pan juices every 20 minutes. The meat is medium-rare when the internal temperature reaches 125°. Let the roast rest for about 10 minutes, then carve and serve with the pan juices. (If the pan is dry, deglaze it by stirring in approximately 1 cup of water and boiling until the juices are well reduced and flavorful.)
Spring lamb is fairly delicate in comparison with older lamb and calls for a certain elegance in the wine, whether it be white or red. Chef Paul Bertolli selected a mature Chianti Classico from Badia a Coltibuono made from 90 percent Sangiovese grapes for its refinement and sweet, cedary aromatics. An older French red Burgundy or California Pinot Noir would be another good marriage.