Pecora in cappotto translates to "sheep in a jacket" – the jacket being the potatoes and onions that cloak the meat. Giovanni Pilu's easy and delicious recipe will prove to you that mutton doesn't deserve its bad reputation.






Skill level

Average: 4.1 (5 votes)


  • 1 mutton shoulder on the bone, cut into large chunks by your butcher
  • 6 roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 onions, halved
  • 3 carrots, cut into 5 cm chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into 5 cm chunks
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 300 g fregola (see Note)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Put the mutton pieces, tomato and salt in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and skim the surface. Lower the heat and simmer for 1½–2 hours or until the meat begins to fall from the bone. Add the onion, carrot, celery and potato and cook until the vegetables are soft. Remove the meat and vegetables from the stock and keep warm.

Return the stock to the boil and add the fregola. Cook for approximately 8 minutes, until al dente.

The minestra, or soup, is served as a first course followed by the meat and vegetables.


• Fregola is a small ball-shaped pasta from Sardinia with a nutty flavour from being lightly roasted. It can be found at good Italian delis.