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“You and my wife are very good at different things. But I think her Italian has yours beat.”
~ P. (B.’s husband)
P. uttered that comment after I spent 3 hours slaving away over lasagne for 900 while he lazed in the hot tub drinking scotch. You’d think he would have held his tongue, especially after I admitted to having “cheated” by using some store-bought components (did I mention it was lasagne for 900? Okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but only a bit)! Oh, and did I mention that P. is firmly of the belief that everything is better with meat (i.e. beef or pork), ergo he is hopelessly biased??
I’m sorry, folks, that I’ve been largely absent for a while. I completely dropped “don’t cry over spilled milk” day so I owe you one. More importantly, I owe my ladies one. Due to extremely poor planning, I was at a ski lodge on Mount Washington with no computer (don’t worry, I’m not looking for sympathy). I tried skiing for the first time in many, many years. And confirmed my opinion: après-ski is much better than skiing itself.
Today is technically National Gumdrop Day. Whatever (and, really???). I’m waving my magic wand/pulling a fast one and substituting Papparadelle con Anatra e Funghi Brasati (nope, don’t speak a word of Italian; I used Babel Fish to help me figure out the translation).
Papparadelle with Braised Duck and Mushrooms
2 T extra-virgin olive oil (separated)
2 duck legs, skin and visible fat removed; cut into 2 at joints
salt and pepper
2 large shallots, thinly sliced)
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
1/3 C sweet red vermouth (because that’s all I had)
2 C chicken stock (home made if at all possible)
2 sprigs thyme
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 C (approx) oyster mushrooms, stems removed and slightly shredded
1 Tbsp butter (cold)
1/2 C flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
1/4 C freshly-grated parmesan
1/2 recipe (about 1/2 lb) fresh pasta dough
- Season duck parts with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add duck pieces and brown on all sides. Remove duck from pan and set aside. Lower temperature to medium.
- Add remaining Tbsp of olive oil to pan. Add garlic and shallots and cook until slightly browned, stirring constantly. Deglaze pan with vermouth, using spoon to scrape browned bits from bottom of pan. Add chicken stock, thyme and dried poricinis.
- Return duck to pan, add a pinch of salt and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, until duck pulls away from bones (turn duck pieces once if liquid does not quite cover).
- Remove duck from stock and set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Remove thyme sprigs and discard. Shred duck from bones, discarding veins, cartilage, fat etc. Return duck to stock.
- Simmer duck in stock until reduced by 2/3 (approx 30 minutes).
- Meanwhile, roll pasta dough through machine to thinnest setting (I added 2 Tbsp pepper to the dough while I was making it). Cut sheets into 6-inch lengths and then into 2-inch slices for papparadelle.
- Bring large pot (5L) of water to a boil with 3 Tbsp table salt (this is not a time to use kosher or sea salt).
- Add oyster mushrooms to duck mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Quickly stir in cold butter.
- Add pasta to boiling water and cook for 1 1/2 minutes or until al dente. Reserve 1 C of water before pouring pasta into strainer.
- Add pasta to duck and stir gently to incorporate ingredients. Add reserved pasta water as required to keep sauce at desired consistency (i.e. saucy).
- Plate pasta, scooping mushroom / duck mixture on top.
- Top with parmesan and parsley. Serve.
We ate this pasta while celebrating with a large bottle of wine. Not Valentine’s Day (please), but Alexander Bilodeau’s Gold Medal – the first gold medal won by a Canadian on Canadian soil, ever, and also the first Canadian gold medal in the 2010 Olympics.
Go Canada Go!
Oh, and p.s.: Take that, P.