Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tagliatelle with Duck Ragù

Mason and I often treat ourselves to Lunch Date Saturday. On one such occasion, we went to Perla - a quiet, dimly lit Italian restaurant located on Minetta Lane in the West Village - and we quickly became infatuated with the ambiance and cuisine. The first time we dined there, they served us a hand-rolled spaghetti with a bold duck ragù - and if that wasn't enough - our server showered the pasta with shavings from a block of frozen foie gras. Over the next few months we returned to order this dish on several occasions.

After a few months - and to our dismay - Perla had removed their Pici con Ragù dell'Anatra. A few days later, I decided to recreate this dish.

A quick Google lead me to a few traditional Tuscan recipes, and I mixed and matched a few for the recipe below.

Tagliatelle with Duck Ragù
3 tbsp olive oil Duck, one breast and one leg (Long Island is preferable)
2 medium onions, diced
3 carrots, finely diced
2 1/2 oz guanciale cut into small cubes
1/2 cup dry white wine
28oz san marzano chopped tomatoes (1 can)
1 cup stock
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp thyme, chopped
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper to taste

 To serve:
1/4 lb pecorino cheese (or Parmesan)
1 lb dry tagliatelle pasta (egg preferred)
Heat olive oil to medium high in a large saucepan or dutch oven / cocotte

Render the guanciale by cooking it until crispy. Remove the guanciale and keep the fat in the pan. Dry off and season duck pieces with salt and pepper, then brown them well on all sides in pot

Duck will render some of its fat here, but do not drain it. Instead, remove duck pieces to a plate and toss in guanciale (pancetta),
 onion, celery and carrot. Lower heat to medium and allow this lot to soften for about 10-15 minutes before hitting it with the garlic. Give this about five minutes of sauteeing before cranking up the heat to medium-high again.

When you can hear the pan is hot, pour in the wine and scrape up the brown bits at the bottom. Allow wine to evaporate before reducing heat to medium and adding tomatoes, stock and drained, reconstituted porcini. Toss the duck back in, and add the sage and bay before bringing it all to a boil and stirring well. Reduce the heat so sauce is just simmering, and cook partially covered for at least two hours.

Check occasionally for liquid levels, adding a splash of water if it looks like it’s drying out. After two hours, meat should be fall off the bone tender, but if not, continue until it is. Remove duck pieces from sauce and allow to cool, before taking two forks and pull meat off the bones, discarding skin and bones.

Skim the fat off. Reduce the sauce on medium high until thick.

Skim fat off the surface of the sauce, removing bay and sage sprig, then add duck back in and stir well. Taste and correct seasoning, if necessary. At this point it can be cooled and stored for a few days.

To serve:
Follow package directions to cook the tagliatelle. Toss with duck ragù. Top with Pecorino cheese and a glass or more of good Tuscan red wine.

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