2 stomach linings of young lamb
For the stuffing
1 cup Caciotta cheese, grated
1 cup Parmesan Reggiano, grated
1 cup, home-made ["plain"] bread crumbs
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
A pinch of pepper
For threading stomach lining
Thick thread and a needle
about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
For stewing "agnello cacio e uova"
Home-made Italian tomato sauce
o Preheat oven to 300 F degrees.
o Beat eggs.
o Mix cheeses, home-made breadcrumbs and parseley together.
o Add eggs to the cheese and breadcrumb mixture. Mix well.
o Open up the stomach linings and fill them with the cheese and breadcrumb mixture.
o Thread a needle and sew up the linings.
o Add a touch of oil to a roasting pan.
o Place the stuffed sheep linings ["Agnello cacio e uova] on the roasting pan.
o Bake for about 45 minutes.
o While the "agnello cacio e uova" is cooking, make your favorite tomato sauce (which may include other types of meat pieces).
o After the "agnello cacio e uova" has cooked for about 45 minutes, transfer it in the tomato sauce.
o Stew the "agnello cacio e uova" in the tomato sauce
for about 25 minutes.
o Remove the "agnello cacio e uova" out of the tomato sauce and cut up in thick slices.
o Serve with salad.
My mother and sister recently prepared the "agnello cacio e uova" shown in the photo, and it was really delicious. It was my sister's decision to use Caciotta cheese rather than Romano which my mother often used in the past, and it definitely improved the flavor. Obviously, the "traditional" way of doing this dish would be to use Pecorino cheese rather than Caciotta or even Parmesan, as prior to World War II Pecorino cheese (sheep's cheese) was about the only type of cheese available in the Molisani countryside. However, Pecorino cheese has a very sharp flavor, and not many (at least not in my family) enjoy it all that much, but for those who like that sharpness then using Pecorino will enhance rather than detract the taste of this dish. In any case, this dish, I gather, from what I was told by my mother (as she and my sister did it, not I) is rather complicated to make. Surprisingly, it is also quite expensive. I say, surprisingly, because one would assume that a sheep's "stomach lining" which does not at all sound appetizing would be cheap, but the fact is, it isn't -- not in Montreal, Canada. Also, it's hard to find. Not that many butcher shops have it. Prior to World War II, this dish was only prepared for Easter, I believe. Nowadays, Italians (those who could afford it) generally make it for some special occasion. Some home cooks use other parts of the lamb that comes with a lining (such as the leg or shoulder) and stuff that with the cheese and bread mixture. That can also work out quite well. My own mother has often added this mixture to various lamb pieces when she makes her regular tomato stew and the result is rather pleasing. Some professional cooks might argue that one should not add any breadcrumbs to the cheese mixture for it to be "agnello cacio e uova" -- the real thing, but in my opinion (and in my family's opinion) adding breadcrumbs makes the stuffing less sharp, and so more pleasant to the palate.... Photo: Mary Melfi.