Lamb scottadito recipe: how to make Rome-style, grilled lamb chops

by marta

Lamb scottadito recipe: make delicious Italian grilled lamb cutlets with this easy recipe from Rome for finger-licking grilled lamb cutlets. Perfect for Easter and family BBQs

Abbacchio scottadito (also agnello scottadito) is a traditional Rome recipe typical of the Easter season featuring a stape of Italian easter food: lamb!

Lamb scottadito is the Rome interpretation of grilled lamb cutlets and it is a simple and super satisfying meat dish.  

Traditionally, it served at family BBQ and friends gatherings on spring weekends and it is especially popular on Easter Monday, a day when Romans and Italians in general traditionally leave the city and get together with friends and family around a hot grill.

This is all you need to know to make lamb scottadito at home. 

scottadito lamb chops (credit: Depositphotos)
Organic Grilled Lamb Chops with Garlic and Lime (credit: Depositphotos)

What is lamb scottadito? What does scottadito mean?

Lamb scottadito is the Roman name of Italian grilled lamb chops.

Lamb in Rome is called either agnello or abbacchio while ‘scottadito’ refers to the type of cooking.

Scottadito means ‘finger burning’ and it is made by the combination of the Italian word ‘scotta‘ = burns and ‘dito’=finger so lamb scottadito translates into ‘finger burning lamb’!

The name gives away the most distinct trait of this simple dish: lamb scottadito is served super hot from the grill and it is supposed to be eaten with your hands!

Can you picture a sunny spring day, a fired up grill, a group of friends and a lamb cutlet so delightful you just want to grab it by the rib and eat it straight away?

That’s exactly the type of situation lamb scottadito comes into its own and I can promise: it is delicious, fuss-free and super satisfying!

Where is abbacchio scottadito from?

Agnello/ Abbacchio scottadito is a traditional recipe from Rome and the Lazio area and it is typical of the Easter season.  

In Rome, you hear it referred to as agnello scottadito, abbacchio scottadito or also ‘alla scottadito‘ (scottadito style), all expressions referring to the same dish: grilled spring lamb chops.

Lamb scottadito ingredients

In its most traditional form, abbacchio scottadito is a very plain dish, made with lamb cutlets, a hot grill and a small amount of olive oil, no marinade of herbs needed.

However, the recipe is flexible enough to allow for the addition of herbs and even the preparation of a  basic marinade, usually with the use of rosemary and garlic.

The most delicious way to prepare it involved the use of the following ingredients:

  • Spring lamb chops, at least 1cm thick
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Grounded black pepper
  • Garlic cloves, fresh, crushed
  • Salt
  • Rosemary or thyme, as preferred

How to make abbacchio scottadito

Get your lamb cutlets, lay them on a tray and season with a little bit and black pepper.

Brush a small amount of olive oil on both sides then add the crushed garlic and rosemary and leave in the fridge for about half an hour to marinate.

Once this time has passed, take them out of the fridge, add salt to your cutlets and fire up your grill or pan.

Wait until your cooking surface is very hot and cook your lamb for a couple of minutes on the first side: leave cooking until the outside is perfectly cooked, then turn on the other side and repeat.

Your lamb chops are ready when golden and grilled on the outside and cooked yet slightly pink inside. Serve super hot.

What to serve scottadito with

A lovely side dish to serve with scottadito lamb chops is puntarelle alla Romana (Roman style puntarelle salad, dressed with lemon and anchovies) or Italian style road potatoes.

Top tips for perfect scottadito lamb chops

To maximise the chances of delicious and succulent scottadito lamb chops, it is recommended to:

Get lamb chops that are at least 1 cm thick, so they don’t dry out excessively during the cooking process.

Avoid using cold cutlets just out of the fridge: take them out about 10-15 minutes before cooking so you will avoid the cold meat from getting hard the moment it touches the hot grill. Make sure you follow food safety rules so they don’t get spoiled in the process

Use tongs to turn your lamb cutlets and avoid anything that can pierce the meat. A fork or similar tool will let all the juices out, leaving your lamb chops drier and less flavorsome.

Can I make scottadito in a pan or the oven?

Scottadito is s grilled dish but it is also possible to get a good result using a skillet.

The key to having a good result when pan-frying the lamb is to make sure the skillet is very hot before you add the meat and also to use a small amount of olive oil to great the pan.

While lamb is delicious in the oven, scottadito is not great cooked this way. In that case, I recommend you get a rack of lamb instead.

I hope you enjoyed this quick recipe idea for Italian lamb chops Rome style. Buon appetito!

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