One, two, three, four... Arrosticini...
Have you ever heard of Mannarino's Arrosticini? Impossible that you haven't noticed them in front of his meat counter....
Between Apulian 'bombette pugliesi', ribs and grandma's meatballs - you know - butcher Mannarino never sends you home hungry and is always ready to offer you the various specialities on his counter. And one, in particular, has conquered the hearts and bellies of many with its unbeatable taste. We are talking about the arrosticino, a typical Abruzzi kebab made with lamb meat and barbecued. The particularity of arrosticini is that, along with the meat, chunks of fat must also be inserted into the skewers, which give the meat a special and unique flavour during cooking. Despite their simplicity, these kebabs encapsulate a long history and a very specific culinary tradition that Mannarino went to great lengths to study in order to be able to present this delicacy of Abruzzo cuisine in its best version.
Originally called 'rustolle' or 'rustelle' (small roasts), the story goes that arrosticini were invented in Voltigliano, a locality not far from the Apennines, by two hungry shepherds who thought it best to cut old sheep meat into small pieces and put them on a wooden stick, cooking them over open embers. The traditional way of cooking arrosticini is to use the so-called furnacell', a special brazier on which these skewers are placed so that it is only the meat that is on the coals while the handle remains outside to turn and extract the arrosticini. The cooking must not be done over a high flame otherwise there is a risk of drying out the meat and covering its flavour.
Abruzzo's arrosticini are so tied to the local tradition that in 1930, a poem was even dedicated to them. The author was Prof. Ernesto De Carolis who, faithful to the dialect of Civitella Casanova, composed a sort of hymn to this product so dear to Abruzzo, the arrosticino:
J'arrestiglie de Cevetelle
Mild is good j'arrestiglie
above four carvenilles
quande s'ha bbreschete
that neh 'glutte t'hi magnet.
It is quesenze de jandeche:
but that studie nen te deche
p'arcapà qui veccueniglie
fat the skinny ones.
And that nu profume spanne
that from a'core saglie n'ganne.
For this thing you pick
all those who have foreseen us
Categnene i Carpenete
tante ha fiette ma nen c'ha arscete.
Rehearsals, artaglie, artaglie,
mbiveze, azzoffele, sventaglie,
but where does that add up to?
Duva sta que lu sapore?
He is praetor for the cast,
art is for those who love it
j'arrestiglie de Cevetelle
and these citele gnie le stelle,
is ddu things accellende
who is only here.
- Prof. Ernesto De Carolis, L'arrosticino, 1930 -
A product of the culinary tradition of the settled shepherds, it has now become one of the best-loved meat dishes in Abruzzo and beyond. Like any self-respecting traditional dish, it has undergone some modifications over time. The original cooking and preparation have remained unchanged, but several variations have been created to satisfy the palates of the most curious gourmets. Among the most popular are liver arrosticini (but only for the most daring!), often served with spicy sauces or truffle oil.
But whatever your taste, you can hardly get tired of enjoying arrosticini, and this is a clear sign that confirms the goodness of this traditional product that you must try at least once in your life.
The arrosticino has crossed all the Apennines to reach the Po Valley, and Mannarino did not miss this appetising opportunity!
We are waiting for you in Milan in Piazza De Angeli 1 and in our new butcher's shop in Via Carlo Tenca!