so since the last two weekends consisted of large dinner/brunch gatherings and such a plethora of cooking that i didn’t really even get to sit down and eat, i decided to change it up and make just a good ol’-fashioned dinner for two. besides, i was long overdue in using my x-mas gift from e, a pasta attachment for my kitchenaid mixer.
i knew i wanted to do pasta, but i still wasn’t sure about the sauce. so i looked through a notebook that’s full of overall inspirations, blog ideas, and recipes. i came across my notes from boka, a really great restaurant i went to in chicago late last year, and saw highlighted, asterisked, and underlined… duck ragù with bucatini.
now, my x-mas gift wasn’t the kitchenaid pasta extruder (which will hopefully be in my hands sooner than later), which would allow me to make the bucatini (a thick, hollow spaghetti), so instead i chose to use my fettuccine attachment and headed to rudolph’s, my local butcher, to see what kind of duck they had in stock. most recipes i found called for duck legs, but as any good cook does, i decided to make some necessary jk changes. i went with duck breasts instead of legs, opting to shred them as i do pork or chicken for tacos – and amp up the seasoning.
2 – duck breasts (muskovy or moulard)
½ – chopped medium onion
14.5 oz. – chopped tomatoes in juice (1 can) (san marzano if possible)
3 – garlic cloves (smashed)
1 tbsp. – fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
½ cup – dry red wine
2 cups – chicken stock
¼ tsp. – ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. – crushed red ppper
½ cup – parsley (chopped)
¼ cup – parmesan
1 tbsp. – unsalted butter
1 tsp. – olive oil
good salt (kosher or sea) and fresh cracked pepper
heat the butter and olive oil in a large, deep cast-iron dutch oven over medium heat until the foam subsides. pat the duck dry and season with salt and pepper. sear the duck, skin side down, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. turn the duck over and cook for and additional 2 minutes. transfer the duck to a plate and add the onion, garlic, and rosemary to the duck fat, stirring to remove the wonderful brown bits on the bottom of the pan. cook for about 6 more minutes, until the onion is softened and golden brown. add the dry red wine and bring to a boil.
*(the homemade pasta recipe deserves its own blog entry & will be here soon.)
return the duck to the skillet, skin side up, with the juices from the plate, the chicken stock, the tomatoes, the crushed red pepper, and the cinnamon. bring to a boil and then lower to simmer, covered for 1 hour. transfer the duck to a cutting board and skim off the about ¾ of fat from the sauce and discard.
remove from the heat and purée the sauce in batches with an immersion blender (if you don’t have one, get immediately – they’re awesome!). return the pan to the heat and simmer, so it can reduce while you shred the duck breasts with a fork and knife. if this is new, be patient and use your “elbow grease.” my trick? i hold the meat still with a knife and use the fork to slowly shred and tear the meat.
finally, add the shredded duck meat back to the sauce. season with salt and pepper. add the cooked pasta (fettuccine in this case) to the sauce and serve with fresh chopped parsley and parmesan.
e was so excited that he opened up a bottle of red from our wine collection and we toasted the past, the future, and most importantly, something i think we all take for granted sometimes: the present.