Quaglia alla Maniera di Todi

Quail in the Todi Style


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This is a traditional Umbrian way of cooking quail, which works well with small pheasant or other small game birds too, particularly wood pigeon. One of the most famous hunting regions of Italy, Umbria is home to many wild animals, and game has long played a crucial role in traditional Umbrian cuisine. Todi is a very pretty town in the province of the regional capital Perugia. It sits perched on a tall, two-crested hill overlooking the east bank of the river Tiber.


  • 2 plump quails or wood pigeons, cleaned, rinsed, dried and ready to cook
  • 9 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 slices prosciutto
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 ml/17 fl oz/2 ¼ cups dry red wine
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 115 g/4 oz pancetta, cubed
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp pitted black olives, roughly chopped
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 slices farmhouse bread, such as ciabatta, toasted, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Wrap each quail or wood pigeon in 3 sage leaves and a slice of prosciutto.
  2. Put the quail into a roasting pan and roast for about 10 minutes, or until half-cooked.

  3. Remove from the oven and take the meat off the carcass in large chunks, but leave the legs intact. Chop the remaining sage leaves.

  4. In a pan, fry together the oil, wine, garlic, onion, pancetta, olives, capers, and remaining sage leaves for about 5 minutes.

  5. Add the chunks of meat. Season with salt and pepper and cover. Leave to simmer for 1 hour, or until tender.
  6. Serve the meat atop the toasted bread, with the sauce poured over.