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Macaroni with Tomatoes, Mussels and Arugula

From Italian Cooking and Living, June/July 2004

“Maccheroncini con Pomodoro, Cozze e Rucola”

  • For the pheasant rag:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste (or 2 cups canned tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 pheasant (11/2 to 2 pounds)
  • For the risotto:
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 6 cups chicken stock, boiling
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Grana Padano
  • 1/2 cup black truffle paste
  • For Grana baskets and garnish:
  • 6 ounces Grana Padano, grated
  • 2 tablespoons flour, plus extra
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 sprigs rosemary
  • 8 sage leaves

Prepare the pheasant rag: Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and bay leaves, and saut for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, red wine, 1 cup of water and the whole pheasant. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook for 1 hour. Stir occasionally, adding water if the liquid dries up. Remove the pheasant from the pot, chop the meat, and place it back in the pot. Cook over medium-low heat until very tender, 1 to 11/2 hours. Make the risotto: In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the rice, and saut for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the wine, and stir until it is absorbed. Add the pheasant rag and 1/2 cup of stock, stirring until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Continue adding stock in 1/2-cup increments, stirring well, until the rice is creamy yet al dente, about 16 to 18 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat, and stir in the remaining butter, the Grana Padano and the truffle paste. Allow to sit for 3 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, make the Grana baskets: Mix together the Grana, flour and parsley. Sprinkle a thin layer of the mixture in a nonstick skillet, and heat until melted. Drape over an inverted cup to cool. Repeat until you have 8 Grana cups. Make the fried herbs for garnish: Heat 1/2-inch of olive oil in a skillet. Make a batter out of flour and ice-cold water, about the consistency of heavy cream. Dip the rosemary and sage in the batter, and fry until crisp. Drain briefly on paper towels. Serve the risotto in the Grana cups, garnished with the fried herbs. Serves 8

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