I've had a few requests for the recipe for the pigeon ravioli dish I did in the first round of Masterchef. I was going to hold out until I cooked it again to take some snaps, but right now I can’t see when that’s going to happen so here’s the recipe sans pics (might add some in later)…
Pigeon ravioli with rosemary sauce and sautéed wild mushrooms
n.B squab pigeon is a farmed pigeon – plumper & more tender than wood pigeon, but also pricier (about £7 each). As an alternative pheasant works brilliantly here (as a guide substitute 1 pheasant breast for 2 squab pigeon breasts, and use legs or carcass for the sauce).
This recipe is about right to make 18 ravioli – so a main for 3 people (6 each) or a starter for 6 (3 each).
2 squab pigeon
A glass of medium dry white wine
250g of pasta flour (type ‘00’)
2 whole free range eggs and 2 free range egg yolks
extra virgin olive oil
500 ml of chicken stock (preferably dark)
1 carrot roughly chopped
4-5 shallots , chopped
50g of diced unsmoked Italian pancetta
50ml double cream
A black summer truffle or a drizzle of best quality truffle oil
1 bay leaf, and a little fresh nutmeg
Italian tomato puree
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 handfuls of mixed wild mushrooms – such as Morels, Chanterelles, Pied de Bleu and Horse mushrooms(you can bulk things out with some cultivated types, such as chestnut, if you like)
First make the pasta dough by sieving the flour in to a blender, adding the whole eggs and egg yolks plus a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil, then blend until well mixed. Empty the mix on to a work surface, push it together in to a ball and knead for a couple of minutes then cover in cling film and put aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile make the filling and sauce. Take the breasts off the pigeons, cut the rest of the pigeon carcass in to a few pieces and put it in a pan with some olive oil over a medium-high heat to brown, turning occasionally. Then add the chopped carrot, half the shallots, a teaspoon of tomato puree and a bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes more then pour in the chicken stock, and bring to the simmer and allow it to reduce down to a third of its volume (this takes about 30 minutes). Strain through a sieve and set aside.
Take a frying pan and fry the pigeon breasts in a little olive oil, after a minute or so scatter over half the chopped shallots and the pancetta. Cook for a minute more, then turn the pigeon breast and cook for another 2 mins. Remove the pan from the heat, roughly chop up the breasts and place everything into a small blender. Add 2 tablespoons of double cream, some salt and pepper, a little grated nutmeg and a drizzle of truffle oil. Blend until a rough paste.
Now take the pasta dough, split it in half and roll it out to the thinnest setting on a pasta machine (you can just roll it through the settings but if you want the real deal you gotta do the folding and turning thing - see Giorgio's excellent guide here).
Do the same with the other half. Place a large teaspoon of the filling at intervals along half of each sheet then use a pastry brush and a little water to wet around each filling and fold the other half of the sheet over, pressing around the filling to seal. Cut out the ravioli with a pasta cutter and squeeze out any air with your fingers. Repeat with the other length of pasta - you should be able to get 9 out of each sheet without much trouble.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and then put in the ravioli. Meanwhile season your mushrooms and fry in olive oil and a little butter until just cooked – about 3 minutes.
Take out the ravioli and drain.
To finish the dish take a large frying pan, put it on a high heat, add some butter and fry a handful of rosemary needles for 30 seconds then pour in your reduced pigeon stock. Allow to bubble 7 reduce for 1 minute then throw in the drained ravioli, toss for another 30 sec together and divide them and the wild mushrooms between the plates (ravioli around the edge, pile of 'shrooms in the middle looks nice) with the sauce from the pan poured over the pasta.