While cutting back some reedbeds at our shoot recently, a few startled pheasants flew out. It gave me the idea of creating a game cannelloni; the name of the dish means large reeds in Italian.
pheasant breast garlic onion olive oil sun-dried tomato paste dried basil sherry spinach parmesan cheese lasagne pasta sheets milk butter plain flour dried mustard
1. Skin and finely dice the pheasant. Finely dice the garlic and onion then fry with the pheasant in a splash of olive oil. Add a teaspoonful of sun-dried tomato paste and dried basil. When cooked through, add a dash of sherry and the spinach. Once the spinach is wilted add 1½oz of grated Parmesan cheese, mix and remove from the heat to cool.
2. Partly cook (see tips) the pasta sheets in boiling water. Drain and transfer the sheets to a bowl of cold water and leave them immersed to cool.
3. Heat half a pint of cold milk, 1oz of butter, 1oz flour and half a teaspoon of dried English mustard in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time. As the sauce thickens, add 1½oz grated Parmesan cheese and mix well. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
4. Grease an ovenproof dish with olive oil. Lay out a sheet of pasta, place a spoonful of game on top, roll it up and place it in the dish, seam-side down. Repeat the process for all the pasta sheets. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta tubes and cook in an oven at 180ºC for 20 minutes until browned. Serve on a bed of raw spinach.
Use fresh or dried pasta. Boil for two minutes or six minutes respectively (check recommended cooking times on the packet). It is important to leave the pasta immersed in cold water or it will stick together. Mature cheddar is a good alternative to Parmesan. As an extra treat, scatter some Parma ham on the top before serving.