Jan 10, 2010

Where the hell have you been?

Oh wait, that’s your line, isn’t it?

Gosh, the new year just rolled in over me like a ton of bricks. Long days at work followed by catch-up dinners with friends and topped off with a Southern Blizzard – a quarter inch of snow that fell late last week and brought the city to a screeching halt. There’s nothing like the threat of winter weather to send everyone running for the grocery store in a complete panic. But rather than milk and bread, why not grab the ingredients for this slow-simmered sauce and make a home-cooked dinner for your fella or friends?

This will take you an afternoon to make but it’s well worth it. Plus, it freezes beautifully so even if it’s just you, go ahead and make it to stash in the freezer. Serve with lots of red wine and round it out with a salad of arugula and orange segments with lemon vinaigrette and a little tiramisu for dessert. Ragu recipe adapted from Mario Batali.

What you need:
2 duck legs and 2 duck breasts, skin removed
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
8 ounces red wine (Chianti preferred but any red wine that’s good enough to drink will work)
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes, peeled & chopped
1 cup chicken stock
2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. short, wide pasta (campanelle or rigatoni)
3/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Grated or shaved parmesan cheese for topping

How you make it:
Wash the duck legs and breasts and remove all fat. Pat dry. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil until smoking. Add the duck pieces and cook until brown on all sides then remove, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the onion, carrot, garlic and celery and cook until softened, about 7 to 9 minutes. Add the wine, tomatoes, chicken stock and dried mushrooms and bring to a boil. Add the duck pieces back to the pot and return to a boil, lower the heat, cover and allow to simmer for 1 hour. Remove the duck, pull all meat off the bones and return to pot, without the bones. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, or until quite thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until "al dente", about 8 to 9 minutes. Drain pasta and toss with sauce. Stir in chopped parsley, top with parmesan and serve immediately.

NOTE: Most grocery stores stock whole, frozen ducks that you can cut into the pieces you’ll need. Just be sure to take it out of the freezer the night before so it has time to thaw!


Erin said...

When I read, "freezes beautifully", I flashed back to the scene in Steel Magnolias!

That does look amazing.

The Single Gal said...

so true! Does that mean Julia Roberts will play me in the movie about my life?

Michelle said...

I can't wait to try this one!