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"We're cooking a festive, fun pasta that I first made over the Thanksgiving holiday," says Rach. "It's a white ragu and you can make it with pheasant or chicken. It still has a little tomato in it, though, and I am going to use red wine, so the meat will stain red. I like to serve the sauce with a really wide pasta, like pappardelle. You need something sturdy that will stand up to it." Rach tops the pasta with toasted pine nuts and chopped dates or golden raisins and herbs for another layer of texture and flavor. Enjoy the dish this holiday season or anytime!
Heat water for pappardelle.
Preheat oven to 325°F, with rack at center.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and brown the birds 7 to 8 minutes on each side, then remove from pan.
Reduce heat to medium. Add carrot, fennel, celery, onions, salt and pepper and bay and soften 5 minutes more. Add garlic, oregano, juniper berries (if using), pepper of choice and smoked cinnamon. Add fresh herb bundle and stir. Mix paste and wine together and spill over veg. Add stock and demi-glace (if using) and simmer, covered with 2 layers of heavy foil, in oven 1 hour. Remove the birds and pull the meat into bite-sized pieces from their skin and bones. Simmer ragu on low while you cook the pasta.
Cook pappardelle a minute less than package directions in well-salted water. Reserve a cup of water when you drain or transfer it. Toss the pasta with sauce, more EVOO to emulsify and cheese and then transfer to bowl and top with dates or golden raisins, pine nuts and herbs.