Pheasant Agnolotti, Morel Mushrooms, Albufera Sauce, and Grana Padano Cheese

Adapted by
April 2011
Yield: 4 Servings


Pheasant Agnolotti Filling
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup diced guanciale or pancetta
2 pounds pheasant legs and thighs
2 medium onions, diced
½ cup diced carrots
½ cup diced celery
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups dry Red wine
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
2 large garlic cloves, halved
1 cup canned tomatoes, crushed by hand and drained
1 to 1½ cup chicken or pheasant stock
2 eggs
1 cup grated Grana Padano cheese
2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons minced parsley
Pasta Dough
2 cups 00 flour
16 to 18 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
semolina flour
Albufera Sauce
3 pounds chicken bones
8 ounces cognac
16 ounces white Port
32 ounces chicken stock
16 ounces chicken jus
8 ounces cream
8 ounces foie gras
1 pinch xanthan gum
Black Trumpet Mushrooms
3 tablespoons rendered duck fat
1 pound black trumpet mushrooms, cleaned
2 shallots, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
½ cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To Assemble and Serve
chicken stock
Pheasant or chicken jus
Shaved Grana Padano cheese
Picked chervil leaves


For the Pheasant Agnolotti Filling:
Preheat the oven to 300ºF. In a pot or Dutch oven large enough to hold all the pheasant in a single layer, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the guanciale or pancetta and begin to render its fat. When the guanciale starts to brown, remove the meat and set aside, leaving its fat in the pot. In batches, begin browning the pheasant legs and thighs in the pot. Let the meat sear and develop a good brown crust before turning it over. Moving the meat too much will hinder the browning process. As the pheasant browns, move it to a plate to rest as you continue with the remaining pieces. Keep an eye on the bottom of the pan. You want to develop a nice rich brown layer of caramelized meat juices on the bottom of the pan. Do not let the bottom of the pan get too dark.

Once all the legs are browned, add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pot with a small pinch of salt, and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. When the vegetables are just beginning to get some color on them, add the wine and reduce it by a little over half. Add the bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, garlic, tomatoes, and the chicken stock.

Put the reserved guanciale and the legs back into the pot and slip the whole pot in the oven for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Remove the bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary and pull the legs out of the pot. Take the skin and bones out and discard them. Gently pull the meat apart into small pieces with your fingers or 2 forks, and set aside. If the sauce seems fatty, allow it to rest for a few minutes, and spoon some of the fat off the top before proceeding. Reduce the braising liquid by two-thirds.

In a food processor, combine the pheasant meat, eggs, reduced braising liquid, grated cheese, and nutmeg. Process to break down the meat to a rough paste. Add the parsley and pulse to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the Pasta Dough:
In a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, bring the flour, 16 of the egg yolks, milk, salt, and olive oil together and knead for about 5 minutes. Add the additional 2 egg yolks if the dough seems dry. Allow the dough to rest for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out.

For the Agnolotti:
Roll the dough out to the thinnest setting on a pasta machine in an even rectangle. Arrange as many tablespoons of pheasant filling as you can down the center of the pasta, spacing them about 1 inch apart.  Lightly moisten the bottom edge of the pasta with water. Fold the bottom edge over the filling and press to seal it. Working around the filling, press the dough down to eliminate air pockets. Using a crimped pastry wheel, cut the top edge of the dough within ¼ inch of the filling. Fold the line of dough up and press down between the pockets of dough to seal the edges together. Cut between each Agnolotti with a crimped pastry wheel. Reserve on a semolina flour-dusted sheet pan.

For the Albufera Sauce:
Roast the chicken bones and deglaze with the cognac and port. Reduce by half. Add the chicken stock, jus, and cream. Reduce and strain. Put the sauce in a blender and add the foie gras and xanthan gum. Blend, season, and strain again. Keep warm.

For the Black Trumpet Mushrooms:
In a large sauté pan, heat the duck fat until nearly smoking. Add the black trumpet mushrooms and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shallots and thyme and continue to cook about 3 minutes more. Add the chicken stock and reduce the mixture by about half. Add the butter and glaze the mushrooms. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

To Assemble and Serve:
Cook the Agnolotti in boiling salted water. Glaze the pasta in chicken stock and butter and season with a pinch of salt.  Plate the pasta and top with some of the Black Trumpet Mushrooms, ½ teaspoon of the pheasant or chicken jus, the shaved cheese, 1 tablespoon of the Albufera Sauce, and the chervil leaves