Arrosticini and Abruzzo – The inseparable tradition
Arrosticini are an Abruzzo speciality cuisine consisting of chunks of castrated sheep’s meat, cut in chunks and pierced by a skewer. However, more often than not mutton or lamb is used too.
The meat is cut in little cubes and skewed in creating a delicious kebab that is traditionally eaten by hand. Arrosticini can also be known as “rustelle”, “arrustelle” or “cippitille” in some local areas.
The Arrosticini recipe in a nutshell
Traditionally, Arrosticini are cooked on a brazier, which typically has an elongated shape similar to a gutter. They can either be made industrially, where the chunks of meat have a length of 10cm and width of 1cm; or made by hand, where the chunks can be different sizes. For handmade Arrosticini, ovine fat can be placed in between the chunks of meat on a skewer for a more tender texture.
How to cook Arrosticini
To create perfect Arrosticini, the cook will need to consider the area of the brazier that is used, as well as making sure the fire is at the current temperature. Most importantly, the cook should have the knowledge and skill needed to prepare this tasty delicacy.
Take a look at this video to see how this deliciouse Abruzzese recipe is traditionally prepared.
Bread soaked in extra-virgin olive oil is a common accompaniment to Arrosticini, as is a glass or two of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine – an Italian red wine made in Abruzzo from the Montepulciano wine grape.
Today we are going to present one of the most delicious yet simple dishes belonging to the Abruzzese cuisine: the Arrosticini.
Firstly, prepare the brazier with an entwined arrangement of twigs and sticks, and light a fire.
Make sure air can circulate between the twigs, enabling the fire to spread and creating lots of heat.
It’s important to get the temperature right, so leave the fire burning until the twigs begin to smoulder.
Arranging the twigs in a pyramid shape will help to contain the fire and heat.
Here a BBQ grid is used but traditionally they should be cooked on a Fornacella.
Lay the Arrosticini down on the grid so they can cook evenly on all sides.
Now it’s time to cook the Arrosticini. Create a flatter surface among the smouldering embers and place the grid on top.
Arrosticini requires between 3 to 5 minutes to cook, but you can adjust the time of cooking at your convenience.
Remember to add some salt few moments before they are fully cooked.
Enjoy your Arrosticini with some toasted bread dipped in extra virgin olive oil.
History of Arrosticini
Taking a look back at the history of Arrosticini, they were first eaten by the shepherds that lived in the mountainous areas in Abruzzo, for example within the villages of Carpineto and Civitella Casanova.
In fact, it is believed Arrosticini originated in Civitella Casanova as there are records that show there were licenses to sell Arrosticini in the town hall, dating back to 1819. The inhabitants and shepherds were more used to consuming Arrosticini with it being less refined than other meat.
Be afraid of the imitation
Arrosticini were so good and a perfect companion for a Sunday BBQ that by and large they have been produced everywhere in Italy.
However, authorities have announced they will put some rules in place to ensure all Arrosticini are genuine and that anybody enjoying Arrosticini are tasting the authentic delicacy.
For example, the meat used should be traceable back to Abruzzo farmers, and there will be guidelines about how the animals must be fed and transported to the butcher.