Game Ragu with pasta…

Malloreddus con Ragu` di Selvaggina unnamed I had a fabulous bowl of this today at one of my favourite Italian restaurants, Pani’s, situated in Newcastle. The restaurant serves home made Sardinian food of the best quality you can imagine in the most atmospheric of restaurants. Wonderful people work there and make you feel like you are in deepest Italy. Malloredus is a typical italian pasta and it is served here with a game-ragu, made with lentils, borlotti beans, carrots, celery, onion, chilli, garlic & fresh herbs. Stunning and very wintry – perfect for a day or two after Christmas when you are trying to move away from the over familiar flavours of turkey etc! This is a recipe I have found which comes close to the one i had. You can use whatever game you fancy or can get your hands on. One to experiment with and adjust to your tastes. It’s a marvellous dish.

Oh….and if you are ever in Newcastle – eat in Panis !

Serves 6 – 8

Extra-virgin olive oil

50 gm pancetta, diced

1 red onion peeled and finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 sticks of celery finely chopped

1 tsp of dried chilli flakes

1 can of borlotti beans

2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

Sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped

Small bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked

2 bay leaves

1 pheasant boned and cut into ½ inch dice

600 gms venison, rabbit, or wild boar or a mix of whatever you can buy – all cut into ½ inch dice

100 gm ounces liver (optional) – chicken liver would be fine

1 tbsp plain flour 1 good glass of white wine

Salt and Pepper 500 ml chicken or vegetable stock 

2 tbsps unsalted butter

50gm freshly grated Pecorino or parmesan

Zest of one orange

Small bunch of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 


Pour two or three good glugs of olive oil into a large casserole dish and heat gently. Add the pancetta, celery, onion, carrots, garlic, chilli, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves and cook gently for 10 minutes.

Stir in the meats (and liver if using) and the flour. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Pour in the wine, a generous pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Let cook for 5 minutes.

Pour in the stock (there should be enough to just cover the meat). Bring to a gentle boil, cover with foil or a lid and cook for 1 ½ – 2 hours (check liquid level every ½ hour) or until the meat easily falls apart. Add the borlotti beans for the last half an hour.

When finished cooking, remove the bay leaves from the sauce. Add butter, half the Pecorino, half the orange zest and stir well to combine. When ready to serve, pour ragu over pasta and sprinkle with remaining Pecorino, orange zest and parsley.

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