Going all the way back to 1994 this book followed the series featuring Keith Floyd’s journey through Italy and all of the country’s food offerings. The book itself is not a large one but packs some quality recipes, most of which are easily achievable but some that require specialist or expensive ingredients such as white truffles or Fontina cheese.
The recipe I decided to try first, having purchased the book for a matter of pence, was the Pot-roasted Pigeon, Chianti-style. Getting hold of pigeons can be tricky depending on your location but usually butchers can get hold of game such as pigeon or try your local market. I went for the latter option and went to my regular stall at Leicester Market purchasing Wood Pigeon. The great news is that they are cheap.
The only other specialist ingredient in the recipe is hard sheep’s cheese such as a Pecorino. I had no luck finding any form of sheep’s cheese so settled for a decent Parmesan. The dish is basically braising pigeons in red wine and once the birds are cooked the braising stock is used to make a risotto by adding rice, butter and finishing with the cheese.
You can still see Keith’s cooking demonstration in the video shown below on YouTube, it’s also worth watching the rest of the series as it’s fantastic to see the great man in his prime. I began the recipe, as Keith did, by pouring myself a large glass of Chianti.
Stuffing the pigeons with sage and then browning in a large pot with a little olive oil was simple enough. The key is to have everything chopped and prepared ready to just throw into the pan as onions, celery and garlic are then added to the pot to soften. Afterwards it’s just a case of adding tomato puree, a couple of glasses of Chianti and some chicken stock. The pigeons braise on a low heat for around 30-45mins just being careful not to overcook them as they will continue to cook while keeping warm later.
Once the pigeons were done I kept them warm in a low oven with a little of the sauce. Adding the risotto rice to the remaining stock and stirring away results in a slightly loose risotto but with a great texture.
I finished the risotto with the butter and cheese and tasted before seasoning, wow! Strong flavour from the wine and pigeon, it’s a fantastic idea for leftover cooking stock. Once the cheese and butter was added the risotto was heavenly, you could easily eat it just like this and not be disappointed.
All that was left to do was to serve the pigeon on top of the risotto and add a little sauce. I was proud of the appearance, my risotto was a little looser than Floyd’s but it all depends on the braising liquid quantity you have left. Carving the pigeon and putting it together with the risotto it tasted incredible. It’s a very rich plate of food but then again this is Keith Floyd. First class dish and well worth buying the book alone. I’m very much looking forward to sampling further dishes from this book.
Floyd on Italy is available to purchase from Amazon