A couple of weeks ago, while I was in the Lake Tahoe area, I went to my local grocery store to buy food for dinner. As I was looking at their selection of meats and foul, I found two frozen pheasants. I’ve never cooked pheasant before, so I bought it.  

I looked through some of my favorite Italian cookbooks (Il Grande Libro della Vera Cucina Toscana by Paolo Petroni, La Cucina Regionale Italiana by Gualtiero Marchesi, and Il Cuoco Gentiluomo by Livio Cerini di Castegnate) and discovered there are many ways to prepare pheasant. I combined some ideas and came up with two different recipes to try. While the pheasants thawed, I went back to the store to buy a few more ingredients, and then got to work. I made both recipes at the same time and asked my family to tell me which they preferred: it was an even tie, so I’ve decided to add both recipes to my food blog.

This recipe is for pan-cooked pheasant. It’s flavored with a rich combination of chopped walnuts and green grapes.


  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Flour to coat the pheasant
  • 1 cup Vin Santo (no substitutions – I tried this recipe a second time with Sautern wine and it was not as good)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 60 grams of chopped walnuts
  • 25 green grapes, sliced in half

How to make this recipe

  • Cut the pheasant into 8 pieces.
  • Coat with a light layer of flour and place it in a heavy-bottomed pan (I prefer a large enameled cooking pan).
  • Sauté it on medium-high heat in olive oil until it’s golden.
  • Keeping the heat on medium-high, add a glass of Vin Santo (no substitutions!). Allow the Vin Santo to evaporate for 2 minutes.
  • Add the milk, chopped walnuts, and the grapes to the pan. Mix gently, then add salt. Cover the pan.
  • Reduce the heat to medium or medium-low (depending on your cooktop’s flame). Cook for about 12 minutes, keeping the pan’s cover on to retain moisture.
  • Add freshly grated black paper and serve.
  • Buon appetito!

Suggested Wine Pairing

Try a good Cirò, Chianti, Barbera, or Pinot Noir, but stay away from Merlot and Cabernet!


  1. Tagliare il fagiano in 8 pezzi, infarinare e soffriggere in olio finche` non e` dorato.
  2. Sempre a fuoco forte, aggiungere un bicchiere di vin Santo (niente sostituzioni!) fare evaporare 2 min, aggiungere 1 bicchiere di latte, un paio di pugni (60 grammi) di noci a pezzettini e circa 25 chicchi d’uva bianca tagliati a metò, mischiare, aggiungere sale e coprire.
  3. Abbassare il fuoco a medio o basso – depende dalla vostra cucina – e cuocere coperto circa 12 minuti.
  4. Spolverare di pepe nero.
  5. Buon appetito.

Vino: Un buon bianco giovane e freddo, Arneis, Gavi, Greco di Tufo,, etc.  Per chi preferisce il rosso: Barbera, Cirò, Chianti, Etna rosso, Pinot Nero vanno benissimo. Meglio evitare cabernet e merlot.