Meet the rural chefs, Guy Cooper and Harriet Martha Protheroe, who have co-founded the supper club series and blog ‘Guido e Marfa’ that is based on their mutual love for using local, British ingredients and cooking Italian food. Based in rural North Yorkshire, where they bring ‘la dolce vita’ to its plethora of undulating valleys, Guy and Harriet have been inspired not only by their travels but also the idea of using local ingredients to North Yorkshire to create their traditional Italian dishes. They share with us a wonderful recipe, using wild and local North Yorkshire ingredients to create a traditional, hearty Italian dish. Read about how the two started the series and enjoy the accompanying recipe. 

We were at a low ebb in Trieste airport waiting for a delayed flight back to London when the idea for our little food business was born. A shared love of Italy and of feeding family and friends came together in Guido e Marfa. Having eaten so well in this little known region of Italy, we realised that although we might be coming home, the recipes could come with us. The Supper Club Series aimed to take guests on a tour through the regional cooking of Italy, one menu at a time. 

Moving to North Yorkshire allowed us the kitchen space and time to cook, develop recipes and test on willing houseguests and on each other. We put on a few pounds, granted. Our collaboration with Roots Farm Shop near Northallerton was an easy and happy marriage. With owner Katherine’s belief and enthusiasm and together with her team of expert butchers we have fed more than 150 customers over five supper clubs.

In Yorkshire we find ourselves blessed with great local produce. We are an hour from the North Sea with supplies of wonderful fish and seafood, whilst grouse moors back on to our doorstep. Plus many of our friends who are farmers are kind to us, letting us know what produce they have each season. We eat locally and believe in sustainability, conservation and preservation in food production. 

 

Our contribution to Our Islesis a recipe, which once fed friends on a Friday night. We found ourselves having seconds, and then thirds as we greedily forked mouthfuls straight from the pan.

RABBIT RAGU WITH TAGLIATELLE

Ingredients (Serves 4) 

4 eggs

400g '00' flour

2 cloves garlic

1/2 carrot 

1 celery stick

50g lardons

Pinch of thyme & equal rosemary

2 wild rabbits

500ml pork stock

1 large glass of white wine

Lick of double cream

Parmesan, to serve 

 

Method - Ragu

Make the ragu in plenty of time, as the longer sitting and muddling together, the better.

 

1. In a large heavy pan, heat a generous amount of oil. Make sure your rabbits are clean and dry and roll them all over in a little plain flour.

2. Pop the rabbits into the sizzling oil and brown on all the available surfaces. Remove and set aside.

3. Turn down the heat and add your soffritto (chopped garlic, carrot and celery), thyme, rosemary and seasoning and fry sweetly until soft, adding oil as you require.

4. In a separate smaller pan, fry the lardons until crunchy and then add them to your veg.

5. Turn up the heat and splash over the wine and bubble for a couple of minutes.

6. Add the rabbits back to the pot, pour over the stock, and let simmer on a low heat with the lid on for an hour or so. 

Method - Pasta

During the hour, you will be able to make your pasta dough.

1. Pour your flour onto the surface and make a central well for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the centre and use a fork to scramble on the surface.

2. A drop of water and oil will keep things supple. Working from the outside in, fork flour over the wet mixture in the middle until everything is combined.

3. Now you have a ball of dough, knead well for about 10 minutes until you have a springy, verdant ball of dough.

4. The dough will now need covering in oil and cling film and refrigerating for half an hour. 

In the half an hour you can remove the rabbits from the pot and allow to completely cool. The meat should be tender enough to be painstakingly pulled from the bone. Return the rabbit meat back to the pot and put in a 160C oven for a couple of hours. The meat should be meltingly tender and a molten shiny chestnut brown liquor surrounding. Remove from the oven, and pour through a lick of double cream (not too much).  

 

6. Roll out the pasta, either by hand, as we prefer, or with a pasta machine until it is nice and thin. We favour tagliatelle or pappardelle for this dish as the pasta can catch the yummy ingredients. Drying the pasta strains for around 5-10 minutes is always a good way to give the pasta the al dente texture, and the back of a chair is the perfect place to hang the strains. 

7. Plop the strains of pasta into very salty boiling water for 2-3 minutes.

8. In a separate big pan warm through ladlefuls of the ragu, and when the pasta is cooked, mix the pasta in with a mugful of pasta water to amalgamate. Serve with lashings of Parmesan and a green salad on the side. 

La Dolce Vita in North Yorkshire

Words by Guy Cooper & Harriet Martha Protheroe | @guidoemarfa

Photographs by Angus D. Birditt & Guido e Marfa

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