Game Tortellini

Recipe By Owner Chef, Nino Zoccali, The Restaurant Pendolino, Sydney

“This is a classic northern Italian dish found outside of the Veneto region – from Piedmonte to Friuli, and it’s one of my all-time favourite dishes. In this recipe we use pheasant however any game including rabbit, venison, quail or wild boar can be substituted.” – Nino Zoccali.

Serves 4

Prep time 1hour
Cooking time 1hour 30min

1kg+ whole pheasant (or similar game bird or rabbit)
1tsp sea salt
1/2tsp black pepper
2tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, diced
1 large celery stick, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
5g or 1/4 cup rosemary leaves
6 sage leaves, 4 whole, 2 finely chopped
4 stems wild thyme, 4 whole, 2 picked
200ml single cream
300g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated

Preheat oven to 180C. Season the pheasant with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan for 2min, add pheasant and brown all over. Into a roasting tray, place carrot, celery, onion, three-quarters of the minced garlic, rosemary, 4 sage leaves and 4 wild thyme stems. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Place the pheasant on top of vegetables then roast in the oven for 45min. Strip the meat off the bird. Reserve. Using a butcher’s clever or large knife, cut the carcass into small pieces. Reserve. Finely dice the pheasant meat, allow to cool then refrigerate. Mix diced pheasant meat, the teaspoon of reserved chopped sage, picked thyme, cream and Parmigiano Reggiano. Adjust the seasoning if required.

½ cup cognac
50ml red wine
1 bay leaf
3 juniper berries
400ml chicken stock

Remove the whole sage leaves and thyme stems from the roasting tray and reserve. Place the reserved chopped pheasant carcass (bones) onto the roasting tray and return to the oven for 20min or until brown. Remove the tray from the oven, add the cognac and deglaze the roasting tray with a little of the red wine. Spoon all of roasting tray ingredients into a medium sized saucepan and add the reserved whole sage leaves and thyme stems. Add the remaining red wine, garlic, bay leaf and juniper berries. Cook over low heat until reduced to a syrupy consistency then add the chicken stock. Cook until reduced to 1/3 of its volume. Pass through a fine sieve and season if required. Reserve.

1.2kg fresh egg pasta dough, rolled into 1mm thick sheets
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

Cut pasta in to 5cm circles then place one teaspoon of pheasant mix onto the centre of each. Around the pheasant mix, brush one side of the pasta with egg wash. Fold the pasta to form half-moon shape then twist each side to centre to form tortellini. Add 2tbs salt to a large pot of water and bring to the boil. Add the tortellini and cook until they float. Gently remove to drain.

4tbs organic butter

Melt the butter in a frying pan on the stovetop then toss drained cooked tortellini through the butter. Serve the tortellini drizzled with melted butter and game reduction.