Roast Stuffed Capon Recipe
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Roast Stuffed Capon

1 capon, approximately 5 pounds

Stuffing
1/2 pound chicken livers
1/2 pound pork loin, cubed
10 ounces bulk Italian sausage
2 ounces Pancetta (Italian bacon), roughly chopped (substitute: bacon)
1/2 pound boneless chicken breast, skinned and roughly chopped
1 bunch Italian parsley, roughly chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
3 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 teaspoon chopped marjoram
Pinch of fresh rosemary
1 egg
2 ounces Vecchia Romagna (Italian brandy)
1 ounce Marsala wine
3 ounces dry vermouth
2 ounces olive oil

Sauce
1 carrot
1 garlic clove
1 small onion
2 celery stalks, strings removed
1 fresh sage leaf
1 rosemary sprig, stemmed
2 bay leaves
2 ounces vegetable oil
Capon bones (reserved from above)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 ounces dry white wine
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 quart water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Tortellini
1 pound semolina or all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon olive oil
Pinch of salt
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground beef
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, strings removed, finely diced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Ricotta cheese
1/2 pound Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil (or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil)

Egg wash: 1 egg, mixed slightly with 1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces unsalted butter
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To debone the capon: Boning the capon is tricky and must be done while leaving the bird whole for stuffing. Begin by chopping off the wing tips, leaving only the drummettes. Next, working inside the tail cavity of the capon, run a knife between the backbone and the flesh, peeling the meat back as you cut. Follow close to the bone and be careful not to pierce the skin. Small tears can be patched with pork fat during roasting. Turn the capon over and bone the breast in the same manner, scraping and slicing the meat away from the bone. Working inside the neck cavity, bone the wishbone-wing structure. Pull out the carcass, then bone the thighs. Leave in the drumstick bones. Set the bones, giblets, and neck aside for the sauce.

To make the stuffing: Combine the chicken liver, pork loin, sausage, Pancetta, chicken breast, parsley, Parmesan, onion, garlic, bread, marjoram, and rosemary. Run the mixture through a food grinder with a coarse blade, then add the egg, brandy, Marsala, and vermouth. Season with salt and pepper.

To roast the capon: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Fill the cavity of the capon with the stuffing and sew the opening closed. Truss the wings together. To hold the shape of the bird during roasting, secure crosswise with string three times. Heat 2 ounces of olive oil in the roasting pan. Set the stuffed capon in the pan, breast side up, and cover the wing tips with foil. Roast at 400 F for 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325 F and roast for 2 hours, or to an internal temperature of 180 F. Baste with pan drippings every 15 minutes.

To make the sauce: Cut the carrot, garlic, onion, and celery into fine dice. Mince the sage, rosemary leaves, and bay leaves. Combine to form a mirepoix. Chop the bones and carcass. Brown in the vegetable oil in a pot on top of the stove. Add the mirepoix and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the tomato paste and white wine. Bring to a boil and reduce by one-fourth in volume. Sprinkle in the flour. Stir in the chicken stock and 1 quart of water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 1 hour and 15 minutes. Strain and reduce by half.

Make a mound of the flour, then create a well in the top. Break the eggs into the well. Add the olive oil and salt. Gently work the liquid ingredients into the flour, adding a few drops of water as necessary. Knead the dough until it forms a smooth elastic ball, adding more water or flour as necessary. Sprinkle the dough with all-purpose flour, cover with a slightly damp towel, and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

To make the filling for the tortellini: Place the veal, beef, carrots, onion, celery, tomato paste, cheeses, nutmeg, oregano, and basil in a food processor. Pulse the machine just until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Set aside while rolling the pasta.

Cut the ball of dough into 4 or 5 small pieces. Feed each piece through a pasta machine, starting at the thickest setting, according to manufacturer’s directions. Dust with flour and re-roll the strip several times, adjusting the machine to form very thin sheets of pasta. Cut into 2-3/4-inch rounds with a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter. Brush the pasta with the egg wash and place a scant teaspoon of filling in the center of each. Fold the circles in half and press along the edge to seal. Form into the traditional shape by folding the pasta around your finger like a ring, overlapping the ends. Press the ends together, flipping up the edges like a hat brim. Place on a tray dusted with flour.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Put the tortellini in the water and cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the water. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan and add the tortellini, Parmesan cheese, sage, and pasta cooking water. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

To serve: Remove the roast capon from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Stir the pan drippings into the sauce. Serve slices of capon on a pool of sauce accompanied by tortellini. Garnish with fresh sage and rosemary.

Serves 8

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