PIEMONTE CACCIATORE for 2 DECEMBER - STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTION

If you were to hop on a plane to Turin, jump in a car, and head south, and slightly east, you might eventually come across the town of Alba. Here, truffles are celebrated like no other place on earth. The local cuisine has evolved to elevate this already most esteemed of foodstuffs; agnolotti dal plin handmade as tradition commands; partridge served on a steaming golden bed of wet polenta and grappa panna cotta, a dessert perfect for all occasions of the season. The food here shares little with the south, and much more with the alpine traditions of neighbouring countries - France in particular - but it is nevertheless distinctively Italian, and all the better for it. 

 

This is a very rich and indulgent menu: loosen your top button…

 

Agnolotti dal plin
 
Partridge, polenta, bagna cauda
 
Grappa Panna Cotta

 

 

For your meal you will need:

2x frying pan

3 x saucepan 

 

Agnolotti dal plin

Agnolotti, tiny stuffed parcels of pasta made from a single, folded piece of dough are, along with tajarin (tagliolini), the signature pasta of Piedmont – and a source of pride for the locals. They can be made dal plin (with a pleat) for special occasions, or plain in a simple half-moon shape. They may be filled with any manner of stuffing, and whilst they are rather fiddly to make, are also most rewarding to consume.

 

Your pack serves two as a starter and contains:

  • Agnolotti
  • Butter
  • Sage

Directions:

  • Get a pot on with boiling salted water (10% salt ratio )
  • Just before the pot of water boils, put a sauce pan on a low heat
  • Once boiling, add in the agnolotti and cook for 3 minutes
  • Once the agnolotti goes into the pot of boiling water, add the butter and sage into the sauce pan and let it melt, but not split.
  • Add in a little bit of the pasta water into the sauce pan with the butter and the sage and stir continuously to emulsify the butter with the water
  • Once the agnolotti has cooked strain the agnolotti out of the water and add directly into the butter emulsion and take off the heat
  • Season to your taste and remove from the pan
  • Serve, and enjoy

 

Patridge, polenta, bagna cauda

Small game birds, roasted and sat on golden polenta, are popular throughout Northern Italy in autumn and winter. One day, with a little spare bagna cauda to hand, I tried the two together – and discovered a very wonderful match indeed.  

 

Your pack serves two as a starter and contains:

  • 2 partridges, stuffed with butter and mountain herbs
  • Polenta for two
  • Bagna caoda, butter & grated parmesan

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 220C (fan) or 240C (static)
  • Heat your frying pan over a medium-high heat, and add 1 tbsp oil
  • Brown the partridges well on all sides (this takes a good few minutes, requires patience and makes smoke) - then put them, in the pan, in the oven
  • Cook for 12 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave to rest for 5-10 minutes (they should be blushing pink at the bone)
  • While the partridges are resting, heat the polenta over a medium heat – add a splash of water if necessary, and whisk till smooth – though be aware it softens as it warms
  • When ready, whisk in the parmesan and butter, and check for salt
  • Gently warm the bagna caoda over the lowest possible heat, or in a bowl sat over a pan of steaming water (heat it too aggressively and it may split, but will still taste good if this happens)
  • Spoon the polenta onto plates, sit a bird on top, and pour around a little bagna caoda. Pour any resting juices over the partridge.

 

Grappa Pannacotta

This is not really a true panna cotta; it in fact contains no cream - ‘panna’ – whatsoever. Instead, I use yoghurt for a lighter result and a gentle acidity, and flavour it with milk perfumed with the ethereal scent of grappa.  

Your pack serves two and contains:

  • 2 pannacotta

Directions:

  • Gently unmould the pannacotta. Slip a small, thin knife down the sides and work your way around, then invert onto a plate