Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Potatoes

Micaela Pavoncello

1 hour and 45 minutes

6-8 servings

Lamb shoulder with potatoes on green plate

Photo by Penny De Los Santos

Passover dinners in Rome when Micaela Pavoncello was little were a study in contrasts. With her mother’s Libyan family who moved to Rome in 1967, the Seder took five hours. Her father’s family, who trace their roots in Rome to the time of Julius Caesar, spent just 15 minutes on the Seder. “I was always happy to go to my father’s side,” she jokes. “At the end, we would be eating good food — on both sides.” 

This roasted lamb shoulder comes from her father’s Roman side of the family and is wonderful on its own or served as part of a complete Roman Seder menu with riso all’uovo (creamy Italian rice), and carciofi alla romana (Roman-style artichokes), a braised spring vegetable dish called vignarola, and pizzarelle, or sweet matzo fritters for dessert. 

Read about Micaela’s family on our partner the Jewish Food Society’s archive. And learn about Micaela’s Jewish walking tours of Rome.


4 ½ pounds bone-in lamb shoulder
½ cup olive oil, divided

5 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

3 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper

5 fresh rosemary branches

2 garlic cloves, unpeeled

4-6 medium red potatoes or yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Place the lamb onto a roasting pan. Pour ¼ cup olive oil over the lamb and rub the olive oil onto all sides of the meat to coat. Sprinkle the lamb evenly with 4 ½  teaspoons salt and 3 teaspoons black pepper. 
  3. Add the potatoes into the pan around the lamb. Pour ¼ cup olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper over the potatoes and toss to coat. Place the rosemary branches around the pan making sure some are making contact with the lamb and some are with the potatoes. Add the two garlic cloves to the potatoes. 
  4. Transfer the baking pan into the oven and roast uncovered for 1 ½ hours until the lamb is cooked through and the potatoes are golden and tender. 
  5. Serve hot. Micaela likes to serve the lamb whole at the table and to slice the lamb per each guest’s liking.