Faraona in Piramide

Guinea Fowl in a Pyramid


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

Called faraona in Italian, guinea fowl were introduced to Italy from Egypt, and in Le Marche they were considered to be a mark of distinction, enjoyed by only the aristocrats and wealthy farmers, who would serve them at wedding feasts and for other special occasions. This recipe was created by the composer Rossini’s cook, for the banquet held in celebration of the première of his famous opera (Moses in Egypt), which took place on 20 November 1842. The guinea fowl was theatrically unwrapped at the table when served, alongside a small hammer, which was provided to crack the hard salt crust.


  • 1plump, oven-ready guinea fowl
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 sage sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole, plus 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 900 g/2 lb coarse sea salt
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg white, whisked until frothy
  • sea salt and ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Clean and wash the guinea fowl. Put the herbs, juniper berries and the peeled cloves of garlic inside the bird’s cavity. Season.

  2. Rub a long strip of muslin or cheesecloth with the halved garlic clove and wrap the bird in the cloth.
  3. Line the base of a high-sided ovenproof dish with 300 g/11 oz of the sea salt and put the wrapped guinea fowl in the middle.
  4. Mix the remaining salt with the flour and, using your hands, mix in the whisked egg white to make a sticky paste.

  5. Use the salt-and-flour paste to create a pyramid shape over the guinea fowl, covering it completely. Place into the preheated oven and roast for 3 hours.

  6. Crack open the salt crust and carefully take the bird out. Unwrap the muslin, and carve the fowl. Serve.