SERVES SIX TO EIGHT
- 50 g / 2 oz / 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 45 ml / 3 tbsp pine nuts
- 150 ml / ¼ pint / ⅔ cup olive oil
- 50 g / 2 oz / ⅔ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 5 ml / 1 tsp salt
- 2.25-2.75 kg / 5-6 lb leg of lamb
- cooked baby vegetables and miniature roast potatoes, to serve
- To make the pesto, combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor, and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, gradually add the oil in a steady stream.
- Scrape the mixture into a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan and salt.
- Place the lamb in a roasting pan. Make several slits in the meat with a sharp knife and spoon some of the pesto into each slit.
- Rub more pesto evenly over the surface of the lamb.
- Continue patting on the pesto in a thick, even layer. Cover and leave to stand for 2 hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight.
- Bring the lamb back to room temperature 30 minutes before roasting. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4. Place the lamb in the oven and roast, allowing about 20 minutes per 450 g / 1 lb for rare meat or 25 minutes per 450 g / 1 lb for medium-rare. Turn the lamb occasionally during roasting.
- Remove the leg of lamb from the oven, cover it loosely with foil, and leave to rest for about 15 minutes before carving into slices and serving with a selection of baby vegetables and miniature roast potatoes.