For autumn on a plate try Philippa Davis' hare loin with wild mushrooms, pancetta, ricotta and squash gnocchi with two of the season's biggest stars - squash and wild mushrooms

For an impressive supper party starter, Philippa Davis’ hare loin with wild mushrooms, pancetta, ricotta and squash gnocchi uses up the best of autumn’s bounty. Ricotta gnocchi is also lighter than potato, perfect for a light lunch.

If you have guests that have never tried hare, serve up hare ragout with pappardelle pasta to create a legion of converts.


This dish is autumn on a plate with its earthy rich flavours and bright colours. Ricotta gnocchi is lighter than potato so overall the dish doesn’t feel too heavy.


  • 4 hare fillets, silver skin removed
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped thyme
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 200g ricotta
  • 1 free-range organic egg
  • 60g parmesan plus 1 tbsp extra for serving
  • ½ nutmeg, grated
  • 120g flour, plus a little extra for rolling

To Finish

  • 50g butter
  • 2 dsp olive oil
  • 60g pancetta
  • 80g wild mushrooms
  • Splash of dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp chopped rocket

For the hare, remove any sinew and slice the fillets into 2cm pieces. Season then mix with the thyme and olive oil. Leave covered in the fridge.

For the gnocchi, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Cut the squash in half and roast on tray until soft (about 1½ hours). Allow to cool then discard the seeds and skin.

Mash 350g of squash (you can save the rest to use in soups, stews or risottos).  Using a fork, mix the rest of the gnocchi ingredients into the mashed squash and season.

Lightly dust a surface with flour and roll the mix into approximately a 1½cm diameter log. Cut into 2cm pieces and press each one gently with a fork. Lay them out on a lightly floured tray.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the gnocchi in two or three batches by dropping them in (they will sink) then timing them for three minutes once they start coming to the surface – the water should only boil gently. Scoop them out when cooked and let them drain in a colander.

To serve, in a large frying pan, sauté the pancetta and mushrooms in the butter and oil for about five minutes then add the gnocchi and cook for two minutes more. Add the wine then take off the heat before stirring through the chopped rocket.

Serve hot with extra parmesan on top.