Arrosticini are little skewers of sheep’s meat from the South of Italy that have made their reputation throughout the country and the rest of the world thanks to their delicious taste and aspect. Discover the secrets of this street food classic and get carried away in a timeless trip in the heart of Italian flavors.
Just like with many other Italian recipes, arrosticini came from the poor man’s staple: the shepherds would bring home leftovers from the sheep of their pastures and make skewers out of small pieces of meat for their dinner.
The meat was roasted on the outside; the fat would melt and give a unique flavor to the meat as well as a tender and succulent consistency.
The arrosticini were born out of necessity and experiments, and crossed social barriers thanks to their versatility. Today, they are considered classics of Italian street food thanks to an authentic taste synonymous with Italian tradition.
An ideal recipe for a picnic or a barbecue, the meat needs to be cut with a knife to get the best out of its delicious taste. And of course, the nicest part of eating skewers is that no silverware is required! Here’s the original recipe of grilled arrosticini.
Get your sheep’s meat, either mutton or castrated lamb, to make the arrosticini. If you are getting meat already strung on skewers make sure it is sheep’s meat. Cut the meat in little pieces, roughly 1 cm/1.5 cm and string them on damped wooden skewers that won’t become black when cooking on the grill.
Alternate pieces of lean meat with fattier pieces, to obtain the right smoothness of the skewer. Season your “kabobs” with extra virgin olive oil, a few springs of rosemary and chili peppers. Marinate the arrosticini for roughly 1 hour, drain them and grill them on both sides. When they are thoroughly cooked, add a pinch of salt and serve with bread crostini.
In Southern Italy, arrosticini are also called “Rustelle”, which means “roasted” in dialect, but if you make them at home, you can also use a warm electric grill.