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Grilled Lamb Chops, Roman Trattoria-Style

The author of Eternal City shares details of her new cookbook as well as the recipe and story behind the classic Roman dish Abbacchio allo Scottadito.

The Eternal City: Recipes and Stories from Rome is my love letter to the city I’ve called home for over a decade. I was born to Italian parents in Melbourne, but somehow I always knew that Italy was my destiny. Since living in Rome, my tie to our family heritage has only strengthened, and what a thrill it is to be able to write about it.  

This book tells the story of a city that is full of layers, history, contrasts, and contradictions. And so it’s no surprise that Rome’s cuisine is a reflection of this. Through the recipes of friends, chefs, and bakers, I take you on a mouthwatering journey through the ancient streets of the Eternal City. Through fascinating tales of the city's past and present, you’ll get to know Rome not only through her iconic landmarks, like the Colosseum and the Vatican, but also her people: the modern-day Romans who work tirelessly to preserve age-old traditions and those who innovate with a nod to the past. 

I share over 70 recipes on these pages. The classics of the Roman repertoire are included, but there are also some of the dishes that aren’t exactly local but have played an important part in my story. And importantly, I reveal the stories behind the dishes, this much-loved cuisine, and the people. There’s also my little black book with my favorite pizzerias, trattorias, fine dining restaurants, rooftop bars, street food, gelato outlets and more. So open a book and come with me on a trip through Rome's cobblestone streets, hidden corners, and most authentic eateries. 

Whether you're planning a trip to Rome or simply want to learn more about this iconic city, The Eternal City is a must-read for anyone who loves to eat, travel and discover.

Here is a classic Roman dish to try at home.

Abbacchio is Roman dialect for "lamb," and scottadito means "burn your fingers," which kind of paints the picture for this grilled lamb chops dish, found in every single trattoria in Rome and regional Lazio. Lamb cutlets, usually dressed with a little rosemary, salt, pepper and oil, are flame-grilled, and you’re supposed to eat them smoking hot, while trying not to burn those fingers.

This recipe is by young chefs Piero Drago and Jacopo Ricci, formerly of Secondo Tradizione in Rome. They now run their own kitchens at GEKO in Sardegna and Dopo Lavoro Ricreativo in Frascati (Roman countryside), respectively.

Their extensive experience includes a stint at the two Michelin starred Il Pagliaccio and their philosophy is centered around classics – refined without being pretentious. So they’ve added a twist and used thyme instead of rosemary. Feel free to go either way. The important thing is to let the chops marinate so that the flavor is infused.

Abbacchio allo Scottadito (Grilled Lamb Chops)

Abbacchio allo Scottadito (Grilled Lamb Chops)

Recipe by Piero Drago and Jacopo Ricci
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Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 1 garlic clove, crushed

  • 2 tablespoons 2 wild thyme

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 extra virgin olive oil

  • 20 20 suckling lamb chops


  • In a large bowl, mix together the garlic, thyme and olive oil.
  • Add the lamb and mix well to coat the meat with the marinade.
  • Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  • Remove the lamb from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking, to bring it to room temperature, and season well with salt.
  • Heat a heavy frying pan or chargrill pan until very hot.
  • Add the lamb and fry over high heat until browned but still pink and tender in the middle – about 3–4 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the pieces.
  • Serve immediately and eat with your hands.

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