Ingredients for the pigeons:
2 plucked and cleaned pigeons (keep muscular stomach, heart and liver)
50 gr di cheek lard (or ham fat)
4 sage leaves
2 celery leaves
1 stick of rosemary
Salt and pepper
Wash the pigeons and divide them along the backbone. Tie the rosemary and thyme and make a mince with the cheek lard, shallot, sage, celery and liver. Put a tray lined with a light layer of olive oil over fire, add the mince and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously (small note: my grandmother also added butter, but I don’t use it for recipes with lengthy cooking times).
Add the 4 pigeon halves and brown, then pour in 2 dl of white wine, cover and continue to cook over a low fire for 15 minutes. At this point, salt the mixture and add the heart and stomach, a glass of hot water and a generous amount of pepper; cover again and bring to a boil. Continuously check the level of the liquid, adding more hot water or vegetable broth if low so the pigeon won’t be too dry. After 1 hour, remove from the fire and let cool.
Remove from sauce and cut the pigeons in half, leaving the thighs to the side to use as a topping; the breasts should be deboned. Remove the skin and clean the bones. Cut the pigeon into pieces and add to the sauce, then cover to keep warm.
Ingredients for the broth:
1 small carrot
1 small piece of celery stalk
Bring to a boil the pigeon bones, skin, chopped vegetables, a litre of water and a bit of salt, cooking them for about 20 minutes.
After removing the pieces for decoration from the sauce, put the tray with the sauce and chopped pigeon back on the fire; when hot, pour in the rice (an espresso cup’s worth per person) and cook using the pigeon broth (which you should strain before adding the rice).
Lastly, taste and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. The risotto should be creamy without needing to add butter. Serve topped with a pigeon thigh.