This Italian pheasant recipe is named after Gennaro Contaldo and shows the rustic side of Italian food

An Italian pheasant recipe should be included on the list of the top 10 best pheasant recipes. It melds the flavours of the Mediterranean, lemon, garlic and olive oil, to create an Italian pheasant recipe classic. We are used to using Italian flavours in our everyday cooking, but game is often overlooked. It could not be more delicious, and is particularly good when made with young birds.

This Italian pheasant recipe comes from Mike Robinson’s book, Wild Flavours and is named after Gennaro Contaldo who appears regularly on Jamie Oliver’s TV programmes. It is, I have to say, quite divine and shows the rustic side of Italian food.


Serves 4

■ 2 pheasants (young if possible)
■ 50ml (13⁄4fl oz) good olive oil
■ Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
■ 2 lemons, quartered
■ 4 whole bulbs garlic
■ 10 large rosemary sprigs
■ 2 glasses white wine

Remove the pheasants’ backbones (easily done with a heavy, sharp knife and scissors), halve the meat and trim off any nasty bits. Put in a bowl with the olive oil, seasoning and quartered lemons and mix. Squash the garlic bulbs (don’t peel), strip a third of the rosemary leaves off the stalks and add both.

Preheat the oven to 230°C/450F°/Gas Mark 8 and sear the pheasants in a hot, ovenproof pan. Add the rest of the rosemary and pour the white wine over.

Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and allow the meat to rest for 15 mins.

Now serve with foccacia bread or new potatoes and a salad. A delicious and unusual way to eat pheasant, and a great way to avoid the mid season pheasant blues.