This would be a wonderful choice for a celebratory Sunday lunch, as it looks, tastes, and smells fabulous, and a whole leg of lamb will serve quite a large gathering.

  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. Scrape the mixture into a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan and salt.
  3. 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.
  4. Rub more pesto evenly over the surface of the lamb.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
Roast Leg of Lamb with Pesto