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A Tuscan Easter Dinner

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A whole roasted leg of lamb is paired with fava-bean crostini, sautéed artichokes, and other signs of spring.

In Tuscany, a whole roast leg of lamb is the traditional centerpiece of an Easter feast. Here it’s paired with favorite regional flavor combinations: a dried-cherry crust, and a side dish of roasted fennel and potatoes. The menu is completed with other signs of spring served Italian-style: a rustic fava bean purée on crostini, a prosciutto-studded sauté of artichokes and peas, and sweet strawberries topped with creamy balsamic sabayon.

Download a pdf of this menu, including all recipes, shopping list, and timeline.

For hundreds more recipes and menus perfect for Easter, visit our Guide to Easter Dinner, or create your own Easter menu using the easy Easter Menu Maker app.

Menu Timeline

Up to one day ahead:

  • Make the crostini.
  • Make the fava bean purée and refrigerate.

In the morning:

  • Rinse and hull the strawberries; slice them if you like.
  • Make the sabayon and refrigerate.
  • Assemble the fennel/potato casserole.

Two hours before dinner:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Sear the leg of lamb.
  • Make the dried-cherry crust and spread it over the leg of lamb.
  • Take the fava purée out of the fridge to come to room temperature.

90 minutes before dinner:

  • Put the lamb and the fennel/potato casserole into the oven to roast. (If you have two ovens, bake the casserole separately at 400°F.)
  • Trim the artichokes down to their bottoms and keep them submerged in a bowl of lemon water to prevent browning.

40 minutes before dinner:

  • Cook the artichokes with peas & prosciutto.
  • Spoon the fava purée onto crostini, garnish, and serve.

20 minutes before dinner:

  • Remove the lamb from the oven (the fennel may need a few more minutes), tent with foil, and let rest.
  • Make the pan sauce for the lamb.
  • Carve the lamb and serve the meal.

After dinner:

  • Divide the strawberries into dessert glasses or bowls, spoon the sabayon over them, garnish and serve.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce:

  • 3 lb. fresh fava beans
  • 8 large artichokes
  • 2 lb. yellow potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 small red onions
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 2 pints strawberries
  • 2 lemons

Meat, Eggs & Dairy

  • 6- to 7-lb. bone-in leg of lamb
  • 3 oz. very thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma (about 4 slices)
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • About 1 oz. pecorino (preferably Tuscan) or Parmigiano-Reggiano (enough for 1/2 cup grated)

Other Groceries:

  • 2 fresh baguettes
  • 20 oz. frozen peas
  • 2 cups (10 to 11 oz.) dried sweet cherries
  • 1-1/2 cups sweet red vermouth, such as Martini & Rossi
  • 1-1/2 cups low-salt beef or chicken broth (or use homemade)
  • Amaretti, biscotti, or other crisp cookies (optional)

  • 2-1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 Tbs. aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • Black peppercorns

The Menu

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