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Alessi cuisine



Egg tagliatelle with hen sauce

(Tagliatelle all'uovo sul sugo di gallina)

  • A) THE MEAT:
    ½ hen, possibly old, cut in pieces
    200 grams of lean meat
    1 fresh pork sausage
    a chopped mixture composed by:
    1 white onion
    1 carrot
    1 celery rib
    ½ medium leek
    2 garlic cloves
    some branches of parsley
    a blended mixture composed by:
    2 garlic cloves
    rosemary leaves
    5-6 leaves of sage
    the rind (only the yellow part) of ½ orange
    a big pinch of dried basil
    a pinch of fennel seeds
    ½ litre of hot broth made with two stock cubes for chicken broth
  • 400 grams of egg tagliatelle
  • 400 grams of peeled tomatoes
  • one glass of white wine
  • 5-6 spoons of olive oil
  • two garlic cloves
  • a big pinch of leaves of sage and rosemary
  • a pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Take a saucepan with thick bottom, put the chopped vegetables indicated at point B), olive oil, the minced veal meat and the pork sausages (peeled and crumbled) indicated at point A). Let simmer over a medium heat for about 20 minutes, turning very often and covering the pan with a lid. When this stuff will be well stewed, therefore quite watery, remove the lid, increase the heat a little bit and let shrink, continuously turning, but without taking colour; it should continue to stew, but not brown, and maintain a very light hazelnut colour. As soon as (but we cannot indicate the time in minutes) the stuff will start to make some crust on the bottom (just a little bit), lower the heat to the minimum and using a ladle, recognising it tactily, scrape the crust meticulously and mix it with the rest of the stuff. Increase the heat and repeat the operation at least three times in order to get to a certain level of "maturity" the cooking of the chopped vegetables and allow it to acquire the right "personality" as to exalt, but without overwhelming, the slight taste of the hen.

The aspect of the stuff should have a light colour and be a little bit liquid. At this time add the pieces of hen, trying to mix them well with the sauce in the pan and cook them always over a medium-low heat, covering with a lid, for 10 minutes. During the boiling they will give out a certain amount of blood humour, turn them a little bit as this humour would mix and impregnate the chopped vegetables and meats in the saucepan itself. Add the wine, increase the heat, let evaporate by turning very often, then after 4-5 minutes put also the blended mixture at point C), turn and mix very well, adjust for a very light boiling, cover with a lid and cook for about 15 minutes. At the right time blend the tomatoes with the remaining garlic, sage and rosemary, the sugar, a big pinch of salt and pepper, turn and mix once again, adjust once again for a very slight boiling, cover and cook for 15 minutes more, turning sometimes. If punching the meat of the hen it will result sufficiently tender, remove the lid as to let the sauce shrink a little bit, eliminate with a skimmer possible excess of grease on the surface, adjust of salt and pepper, switch off, cover with a lid and let settle for some hours.

At the moment to eat, cook the pasta, drain it very well, put it in a soup-tureen, season it with abundant sauce and mix very well, then serve. Furthermore put some other hot sauce in a sauce boat and bring it to the table together with Parmesan cheese. It will be good to leave some sauce with the meat and, in a small saucepan, re-cook it for 7-8 minutes together with ½ kg of spinach already boiled.

"Se il villano sapesse il sapore della gallina a gennaio, nemmeno una ne lascerebbe nel pollaio." This proverb should help us to understand much better what, however, should be clear to everybody, that means the decline given, in the production of foods, by the productive ideology and by the scientific practice of the intensive production. As it is concerned with our recipe, the most upsetting witness of this reality is given by the poultry which, starting from the eggs to the "eld hen", is distorted as regards as to the taste (once we said that the eld hen made a good broth, today we would like to challenge you to make a broth with a hen, even eld, it will have a fish taste). In our preparation we are taking into account this situation and as we would like to keep what is typical and still perceptible, we make any efforts to eliminate the most repellent depravations, trying hard to enhance at a maximum the tradition. From here the extreme care in reaching the exact point of maturity of the chopped vegetables and the meticulous calibrating of the following herbs as to obtain a sauce which should be a good support to the "weakness" of the hen, and at the same time it does not have to overcome the characteristic tastes, that means the ones with whom we can link, through our memory, to the chickens in the courtyard, a long time ago.

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati

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