When I lived in Italy, good local food was a joy to eat daily. So this time I’m cooking a simple pheasant recipe in the style of “hunter’s food” with a rustic twist and using classic Italian ingredients.

Ingredients (serves two)

• olive oil • four cloves of garlic • a handful of sage leaves • a sprig of rosemary • half a medium chilli • two pheasant breasts, skinned, and two legs on the bone • 12 green/black olives, roughly chopped • Italian white wine • a can of chopped tomatoes • tomato purée or sundried tomato paste • dried pasta twists

Method

1. Pour a large dash of olive oil into a frying pan and add chunky chopped garlic, whole sage leaves and whole rosemary leaves removed from the stem. Heat through until the sage just starts to bubble, then add the chilli, finely diced (see tips).

2. Add the pheasant legs and cut each breast into four chunks and fry in the oil mixture for five to eight minutes to brown all over.

3. Add the diced olives and two glasses of white wine. Bring to the boil and allow it to simmer gently. Stir occasionally until the liquid has reduced by half and add the tinned tomatoes, a teaspoonful of purée/tomato paste and allow to simmer gently. Cook for around 20 minutes, increase the heat, then add a handful of dried pasta twists. Cover the pan and cook until the pasta is al dente (with a bite) and the sauce has thickened.

Tips

If you can’t get fresh sage, rosemary or chillies, use dried — a dessertspoonful of sage or rosemary and a teaspoonful of chilli flakes. Don’t add salt until you have tasted the sauce as olives can be salty. You can use fresh pasta, which will take just minutes to cook through. Political tip: use lead shot to shoot the pheasants — the Italians do, and they know a lot about good-quality, healthy food.