1 leg of lamb, about 3-1/2 to 4 pounds (anything larger is approaching mutton)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 or 5 garlic cloves, sliced
4 to 5 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves only
2 lbs waxy potatoes, cut into 1-inch slices or medium dice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cups white wine
Preheat the oven to 400F. Season the lamb all over with salt and pepper. With a sharp knife, make incisions in the meat and push a slice of garlic and a little piece of rosemary into each. Toss the potatoes with some of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the potatoes in a roasting pan and put the lamb on top. Pour the rest of the oil over the meat. Roast for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350F, add the wine, and continue roasting for 17 to 20 minutes to the pound, about 1 hour more depending on size, until the meat is very tender. Turn the potatoes once or twice if necessary to ensure even browning.
Variation: You may put slivers of 5 or 6 anchovies into the incisions along with the garlic and add 1/4 cup capers to the pan during roasting to add flavor to the juices. Or use a veal roast in place of the lamb for vitello al forno.
Excerpted from Rome, at Home by Suzanne Dunaway. Copyright © 2004 by Suzanne Dunaway. Excerpted by permission of Random House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.