Gnocchetti, Wood Pigeon Ragù, Ubriacone Cheese, and Croutons

Adapted by
May 2014
Yield: 40 servings


Chicken jus
11.25 kilograms chickens, breast meat removed, head and feet intact
Filtered water, chilled
2.25 kilograms large diced yellow onion
875 grams large diced carrots
875 grams large diced celery root
875 grams thinly sliced leeks
2 heads garlic, halved
7½ fresh bay leaves, torn
75 grams thyme sprigs
450 grams parsley sprigs
17.5 grams lemon zest
25 grams toasted black peppercorns
Extra virgin olive oil
900 grams coarsely chopped red onions
450 grams coarsely chopped carrots
450 grams coarsely chopped celery
225 grams coarsely chopped parsley with stems
Braised pigeons
Kosher salt
15 head-on wood pigeons
4.5 liters Cabernet Sauvignon
870 grams all-purpose flour, plus additional as needed
430 grams semolina flour, plus additional as needed
500 grams filtered water
To assemble and serve
flat leaf parsley leaves
black pepper
House semolina -loaf croutons
Finely grated Ubriacone cheese


For the Chicken Jus:

To a large stockpot with chickens, add enough filtered water to cover and bring to boil. Remove pot from heat and drain. Clean bones of all scum and film under cold, running water. Transfer bones to a clean stockpot, add 20 liters filtered water, and float the carrot, celery root, and leeks, followed by garlic, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, lemon zest, and peppercorns. Bring to a slow simmer, press the aromatics under the surface of the water, and cook 3 hours. Remove stock from heat, cover in plastic wrap, and cool to room temperature. Strain through several layers of cheesecloth into a clean stock pot and bring to boil, skimming impurities and fat that rise to the top. Reduce to a slow simmer, continuing to skim surface, and slowly reduce by half. Strain through a chinois into a container over an ice bath; chill.

For the Battuto:

In a 7-liter saucepan over medium flame, heat a thick screen of olive oil. In a bowl, toss together aromatics and add to pan. Season generously with salt. Stir with wooden spoon to distribute salt and oil; lower heat and cook 3 hours, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes, until Battuto has lost the appearance of raw vegetables and herbs but not to the point at which any of the individual components have lost their identity. Season with salt and keep warm in pan.

For the Braised Pigeons:

Wrap a wire rack in a towel and place on a sheet tray. Thoroughly salt pigeons and transfer to wrapped rack. Cure at room temperature for 2 hours. Heat oven to 275ºF.  Drain pigeons of any fluid that has collected in their cavities. Layer pigeons in a deep hotel pan. Pour 2½ liters Chicken Jus into the reserved pan of Battuto and bring to a rolling boil. Add wine and return to boil for 2 minutes. Pour over pigeons, carefully stirring to evenly distribute liquid. Season aggressively with salt. Cover hotel pan with parchment paper and weigh down with 3 sizzle platters. Wet the hotel pan lip with water and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Cover the plastic wrap with aluminum foil, making sure that the shiny side is facing the pigeons. Place pan in oven and cook 2½ hours. Rotate hotel pan 180º and return to the oven for 2½ hours. Remove pan from oven and carefully uncover, checking for doneness while lifting—not removing—the sizzle platters. If cooked completely, remove sizzle platters and cool. Remove and discard skin, sinew, and bones from pigeons and tear meat into pieces half the size of your pinky. Strain braising liquid through a chinois and combine with pigeon meat. Refrigerate 24 hours, strain meat, and reserve liquid; divide meat into 25-gram portions.

For the Gnocchetti:

In a large bowl, combine flours and form a well in the center; pour water into well. With a fork, slowly incorporate flours into the water and mix until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Dust hands lightly with flour and gently knead the dough until it forms a ragged ball. Tightly cover bowl with plastic wrap; rest 10 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead 20 minutes, until dough is smooth and springs back when pressed with a finger. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and rest at room temperature 1 hour. Remove plastic, and on a lightly floured work surface, knead dough 2 minutes. Remove a section of dough the size of a large tangerine and cover the remaining dough with plastic wrap. With your hands, roll out the ball of dough into a log that measures 36-centimeters x 1½-centimeters x 1-centimeter. Cut dough into 1½-centimeter coins. Turn each coin onto the newly cut side and roll down a gnocchi board onto a lightly floured sheet tray.

To Assemble and Serve:

Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil and season with salt. For each plate, cook 46 grams Gnocchetti 6 minutes. In a sauté pan over low heat, reduce ¼ cup liquid from Braised Pigeon to 1½ tablespoons. Drain pasta and add to sauce, along with half a kitchen spoon of butter. Increase heat to medium and vigorously beat sauce to emulsify. Add 25 grams Braised Pigeon and toss to combine. Wilt in a large pinch of parsley leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer Gnochetti and sauce to a small, warm bowl. Sprinkle semolina croutons over top and finish with Ubriacone cheese.