By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Apr 14, 2006 at 5:15 AM

We recently got a copy of "Giada's Family Dinners," the second cookbook from Food TV celeb chef -- and granddaughter of Italian film legend Dino De Laurentiis -- Giada De Laurentiis.

Since we're usually a little skeptical of these big-name TV chefs, especially the ones who look like they might be more glamour than substance, we took the book into the OMC test kitchens and tried a couple of the recipes. Both were hits.

So, we're sharing De Laurentiis' recipe for Easter lamb with you, just in case you're still planning your menu for Sunday. But, hey, it doesn't need to be Easter to make a great meal, so at least print it out and save it for a rainy day.

Easter Lamb

6 to 8 servings

Lamb in Italy represents spring and renewal, so it's traditionally served at Easter. This is a relatively inexpensive way to make lamb for a large group.

2 tablespoons fennel seeds
6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 6-lb. bone-in leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat
1 3⁄4 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 1⁄2 cups dry red wine

Using a mallet or heavy rolling pin, crush the fennel seeds in a resealable plastic bag. Transfer the crushed fennel seeds to a small bowl. Add the butter, rosemary, and garlic, and stir to blend. Season the butter with salt and pepper.

Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the lamb in a large roasting pan. Pat the lamb dry with paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Rub half of the butter mixture all over the lamb. Refrigerate the remaining butter mixture. Roast the lamb until it is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Decrease the heat to 350°F and continue roasting the lamb until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 135°F when inserted into the thickest part of the meat but not touching the bone, about 45 minutes longer. Transfer the lamb to a platter and tent with foil to keep it warm.

Skim as much fat as possible from the pan juices, then pour the broth and wine into the hot roasting pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and stir to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the juices reduce by half, about 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Gradually whisk in the remaining cold butter mixture. Season the juices to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the juices to a sauceboat. Using a large sharp carving knife, carve the meat into thin slices and arrange on plates. Spoon some of the juices over the meat and serve.