Tonight I want to share a recipe with you. It’s real comfort food, perfect for a rainy Sunday – just like the one we had in Milan today. This dish breaks the traditional Italian rule of having a “primo” (e.g.pasta, rice or soup) and a “secondo” (e.g. meat, fish, vegetables, cheese). The best way to enjoy roast quail is to have it with risotto. Mixing the “primo” and the “secondo” also makes the meal fuss-free: crucial element for comfort food!
Ingredients (makes 4 servings):
– 4 Quails
– 200 gr of bacon
– 100 gr of sausage
– Herbs: rosemary and sage
– 1/3 cup of Cognac
– Salt, pepper
At my local supermarket I found quails that were already cleaned, so all I had to do was to remove some of the feathers that were left. The quickest way to do it is to burn them (on the stove, if you have a direct fire, otherwise with a lighter). Once they are burnt it’s very easy to pull them out. After doing this, wash the quails under cold running water both inside and outside.
Chop the sausage, a couple of slices of bacon and the herbs. Mix everything in a bowl and season with salt and pepper . Keep some leaves of sage and rosemary – they will come in handy later. Fill the quails with the stuffing. Wrap each quail with a couple of slices of bacon. It is important to pull the wings and keep them next to the breast. I have a little – yet very useful – tip: put a double layer of bacon on top of the wings to prevent them from becoming dry. Season the surface of the quails with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Melt some butter with oil in a pan and fry the quails turning them for a couple of minutes. Add the cognac and continue cooking of a couple of more minutes. Transfer the quails and the sauce from the pan to a baking tray and bake in the preheated over at 170° for 45 minutes.
Ingredients (makes 4 servings):
– 300 gr rice (carnaroli)
– 2 shallots
– 1 l of Broth
– 1 cup of white wine
Whilst the quails are in the over, you have all the time to cook the risotto. I made a light risotto to balance the richness of the quails wrapped in bacon. Start by chopping the shallots and fry them in a big pot with butter and a bit of oil (this is a variation that helps to get a lighter risotto). Toast the rice until it becomes transparent – this operation should not take more than 3-4 minutes. Pour the wine in the pot. I used prosecco, but you can use any wine you like. Prosecco is a good match with risotto, so you can use one cup to cook and drink the rest with the food. Once the wine has evaporated, pour some broth in the pot. Cook the risotto for about 18-20 minutes, stirring often to avoid it from sticking at the bottom of the pot. Add broth when needed.
The traditional risotto should be finished with butter. Once you have taken the pot away from the stove, you should put some butter in the pot with the risotto and let it melt with a lid on top for 5 to 8 minutes (you could also add parmisan to have more flavor). This operation is called “mantecare”. As I said, I wanted a light risotto, so I did not go through this process but you can choose to do it if you want a richer risotto.
I am sure that by now you will have forgotten about the rainy weather and will be in a festive mood, ready to enjoy the meal!