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Sun dried Tomatoes

Tomato Passata sauce, part 1

Tomato Passata sauce, part 2

A new and solid friendship

Pigeon breast,figs and pancetta served it with fondue potato and sweet and sour shallots



After exactly 13 years of living in this beautiful corner of Umbria near Orvieto, I decided the time had come for me to master the cooking and eating of a local favourite, pigeon!
You must understand that for me ,originally  a Roman girl, the pigeon has always been  the bird that just makes a mess, constantly scavenging ,annoyingly often hitting me on the head when I was out  shopping , having café in a bar or when just waiting for the bus, especially near the Fori Imperiali or even in the Eur area.  Rome is full of this bloody bird, even my car didn`t escape being a target for his nasty habits in certain areas of city… in short ….  my memories of  pigeons.. are a bit ..lets say ..smelly . So you can understand my surprise when a few years ago I discovered  that in the Umbrian area the Orvieto people regard this bird as a culinary MUST !!!!!!!

Even way back in the Middle Ages the citizens of Orvieto regarded them as food and dug deep into the walls of their city , creating nesting places  for the pigeons  , these can be reached by a vast underground maze of tunnels , stretching for miles   . If  one day you decide to visit this spectacular city, you can still see this amazing work . In fact , throughout history , in times of conflict ,it has been the humble pigeon that’s kept starvation from Orvieto’s doors.




Well, I`ve had a few opportunities to try this famous bird in the “Palomba “(one of the best family restaurants in Orvieto) but rather stupidly I always say “no grazie perhaps next time”. So the other day after speaking with few local people from my tiny village of Allerona, I discovered that even here it is a delicacy , in fact there are three or four ladies who still breed their own pigeons to eat for special occasions .

So I thought to myself ,Simona it is  time for you  to grow up and stop whining about this poor bird, all these people can`t be wrong and you could be missing out on something really good .So I got one and decided to create a new recipe in honour of my new friend.  I cooked the pigeon breast with figs and a tiny slice of pancetta and served it with a fondue potato and sweet and sour shallots.

Let me just say that this past week end in January 2014 in Umbria ,  in a farm house in the middle of nowhere, near a tiny village called Allerona A NEW AND SOLID FRIENDSHIP HAS BEEN BORN. My darling sweet and tasty pigeons from now on you will be welcome in my kitchen ANY TIME !!!!!

2 comments to A new and solid friendship

  • Ken

    Cara Simona, If I understood the tour guide correctly, on the Orvieto Underground tour, it was, in fact, the Etruscans that started those caves with the pigeon coops. They traded their pigeon ‘meat’ with the other families who milled flour and stored wine in the deeper caverns. The explanation was that was how it enabled the Etruscans to defend Orvieto against the Romans for so long. That means it predates the Middle Ages by more than 1500 years. Best regards, KenP

  • Ciao Ken thank you so much. I have also been on the Orvieto Underground tour,it was amazing!. Unfortunately, as you have rightly noticed, I have not been a good listener :( , so thank you very much for your comment.All my best, XXXXX

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