If you like egg noodles (pasta all’uovo) and if you like duck … why not unite them in a gastronomic tete-à-tete? It’s the sort of recipe you can even make in advance and freeze … the more to defrost and enjoy at leisure. It’s also the sort of recipe that smacks of a party or of a special occasion and one duck can go a long way (1 duck will provide enough pasta sauce for 10-12 people with this recipe). It is not at all difficult to prepare but it does require time and a little patience. This one can’t be hurried. I am going to divide it into ‘parts’ to make it easier to follow.
PART I INGREDIENTS:
1 duck, 1 onion, 2 carrots, 1 celery stick, 100g pancetta, olive oil, sage leaves, parsley, glass of wine, 2 800g tins of plum tomatoes, parmesan cheese and fettuccine 1 duck cut into quarters, with the skin left ON …
You will also need: Two carrots, 1 celery stick, 1 onion, and 4-5 sage leaves. And you will also need 100g of pancetta. Combine the onion, the carrots, the celery, the sage and the pancetta in a processor and press the pulse function to achieve a thick paste. Alternatively, chop all these ingredients with a very sharp knife. The end result is called a ‘battuto’ in Italian.
Brown the duck in another pan, starting skin side down. The duck will release a lot of fat, so add the tiniest amount of olive oil to the pan when you start. Don’t overcrowd the pan, and cook the duck in batches. Here is the first batch:
This is the end of Part II.
Then add two large cans of plum tomatoes. Chop some parsley and add that too. Add a little bit of salt and pepper, a teaspoon of sugar, and mix with a wooden spoon. Cover with a lid and simmer for 1 hour. Then simmer the duck sauce for another 30 minutes WITHOUT a lid. Switch off the heat.
This is the end of Part III.
This is the messy part. Remove all the duck pieces from the sauce: Put the pieces in a large bowl or plate to cool down a little. See how beautiful the sauce looks already … And now what I have done is pick all the meat off the duck pieces and put this meat back into the casserole with the sauce. On the left you see the duck carcass and the skin … The carcass and skin are of no use to us now and can be thrown away, unless you want to use the carcass to flavour a soup stock and the skin to render whatever fat is left. And here is the sauce with flakes of duck meat in it. This has to now simmer for a further 30 minutes.
I am going to add a little bit of water to it because it got too thick. I am also going to add another 4 sage leaves and parsely. Add the water and the chopped herbs. Taste and add more salt and pepper if required.
And this is the end of Part IV.
The rest requires cooking the fettucine and adding the sauce and plenty of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Here we are! Everyone was hungry and the aroma was veeery inviting! One of my guests that evening thought this was going to be far too much for the 9 of us at table (1kg of fresh fettuccine). I didn’t comment. But the totally empty saucepan at the end of the pasta course did!