Although they're less commonly used today, pheasant, boar, and deer have been culinary staples of Italian recipes for thousands of years, said Chef Nunzio Patruno.
"In Europe, it’s nothing new using game," Patruno said. "This type of cooking is part of the heritage."
"If you live in the country, you go hunting with your permit, and you eat the game you hunt."
Patruno, who is himself a hunter, enjoys the chance to stretch out with a special menu every once in a while.
"A lot of people have been waiting for this dinner," he said.
Cooking game isn’t like cooking farm-raised meat, Patruno said. Its low fat content makes it easy to overdo; hence, he said, many people have misconceptions about the quality of such dishes.
"You can’t throw it on the grill and [say] see you later," he said. "You don’t want to end up with shoes on your plate."
But he's looking forward to challenging those notions with his wild game feast; an evening, he said, that is meant for expanded horizons and good company.
"I want [my customers] to experience a different night, different dishes, and to be more adventurous," he said. "I want them to really be involved, and share different things with their friends.
The multi-course meal will start with a venison carpaccio crostini, followed by grilled pheasant served over farro and arugula. Then, venison meatballs and sausages, cooked in tomato, and served over rigatoni.
The entree is a roast tenderloin of wild boar, marinated with juniper berries and thyme and port wine, served over pumpkin-and-sweet-potato gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce.
The meal concludes with dessert: a rum raisin panettone pudding with vanilla gelato and chocolate sauce. For those selecting accompanying beverages, Patruno recommends pairing a Cabernet Sauvignon with the venison; a Barolo or Sangiovese with the boar.
For more information, or to make a reservation, call 856-858-9840. Nunzio's Ristorante Rustico is located at 706 Haddon Avenue in Collingswood.