Who's the Baketard?

Why Baketard? Love to cook, hate to bake. Despite having gone to cooking school and working in some top kitchens, I never learned the baking side of things. I'm building my baking and photography skills, while sharing recipes that rock my world in the mean time.

Sunday
Jul292012

Summer Chilled Corn Soup with Pequin Chiles and Lemon Oil

We keep getting our hopes up for Summer in Seattle. A few days of 80+ degrees, followed by a few days of eternal cloud cover. Unseasonably muggy and meh weather = grumpy summer mood swings. Don't get me wrong--I love Seattle and I love that we get seasons here--I just wish summer was a bit more...summery. If you don't live in Seattle, you're probably sweltering in the heat wave nailing the rest of the country. Ok, ok...I get it. You win.

If it's hot and you're too sticky, sweaty and can't seem to dredge up some ambition to move off that chair, here's just the thing for you. What says hot summer days like corn? Add some citrusy olive oil, a little bit of chile kick and giiiiiiirl, you've got yerself some summer lovin'. 

This recipe is really simple. There aren't a million ingredients, there's no instruction set beginning with, "Day 1: Do this", and it's even vegetarian and gluten free. I know--BORING, right? Wrong. This recipe is inspired by a "Fire and Ice" recipe contest put out there by my friends at Marx Foods. They sent a variety of chile samples to contest participants with the simple instructions to create a cold dish with a fiery component brought on by the chiles. I love corn soup, and I think the chiles give it just a little more oomph.  From the varieties they sent, I chose to use the Pequin Chiles based upon the tasting notes included in te package, indicating flavors of citrus and sweetness. You can modify this recipe to your heat tolerance. Using about a quarter cup of the little dried pequins there's a nice burn in the back of your throat. I found it to be about a 4 on a 1-10 scale, but we are spice pigs...tailor it to what you like. 

The olive oil I used for this is my favorite lemon-infused olive oil made by Temecula Olive Oil company in California. Their lemon oil is called D'Luscious Lemon. I've had some lemon olive oils that taste like you're huffing your mom's Pledge. Fortunately, this isn't like that at all. This oil is very subtle, and it makes a nice counter to the heat and sweetness of the soup.

Happy Summer, everyone...and if you manage to peel yourself out of that chair and make this soup, let me know what you think.

By the way, you can vote for this recipe here.

Chilled Corn Soup with Pequin Chiles and Lemon Olive Oil

Serves 8
 
8 ears corn, shucked
4 cups whole milk + 1/2 - 1 cup for thinning after refrigeration (see note)
1/4 cup Pequin Chiles
1 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon olive oil for garnish (see note)
1-2 Tbsp fresh chives
 
Cut the corn kernels from the cobs and set aside. Put the cobs in a large stockpot and add the milk and chiles. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until reduced by two-thirds, about 20 minutes. Remove the cobs and the chiles and discard. Add the corn kernels and cream and simmer until the kernels are tender, about 5 minutes.   
 
In batches, transfer the corn mixture to a blender and puree. Strain through a fine meshed sieve into a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until chilled, 4 to 6 hours.
Note: Depending on the starchiness of the corn, the soup may chill quite solid and require a bit more milk to thin back into a soupy consistency. Using a whisk, add milk to your chilled soup to achieve the consistency you like. Ideally, this soup comes out slightly thick like a bisque.
 
Divide among 8 small bowls and drizzle a liberal amount of lemon olive oil over each serving. Sprinkle with chives and serve.
 
Monday
Jul232012

The Perfect Pad Thai

There are certain recipes I’ve spent years trying to make just…right: The perfect Bolognese (I’m about 95% of the way there), a flawless souffle (Thanks to Jerry Traunfeld, I’ve got that one down) and Pad Thai. I’ve made good Pad Thai. I’ve even made what I think is great Pad Thai. This is the recipe I think makes flawless Pad Thai. I tested it last week for David, and made it again for friends this weekend. It. Is. AWESOME.  Seriously, I think it is as good as the best Pad Thai I’ve had in any restaurant or even in Thailand.

The author of this book, is Thailand’s tv food celebrity. Born into the royal family, Chef McDang has cookbooks, tv shows, and lucrative consulting gigs for Thai food companies. His cookbook is broken out into basic Thai ingredients and dives deep into the spice pastes that form the core of Thai cooking. He discusses the regional differences and how they affect food, and then provides recipes to demonstrate the basic cooking techniques of boiling, grilling, salads, dips, stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming, curries and (my bane) desserts. In addition to the Pad Thai recipe, I’ve also made his Pad Grapao Nuea (Stir-Fried ground beef with chili, garlic and Thai holy basil) and it came out perfect. Again, as good as anything I’ve had in a restaurant or during my visits to Thailand.

A couple of notes on sourcing the ingredients: You need to have a good Asian grocery near you, or you will need to buy some of the more esoteric items (pickled turnip, pickled garlic, Thai chile sauce—not the sweet one) from internet sources. In Seattle, I found everything at Uwajimaya with the exception of the sweet pickled turnip, which I bought at Viet Wah. The base sauce recipe starts at about 6 quarts, and you reduce it down by half—it makes enough to last a while. The reduction took me a couple of hours, but then actually making the Pad Thai was an exercise of about 10 minutes. It’s well worth that initial time investment. You can use any protein in place of the shrimp. Because this was made as part of an asian meal already including a different shrimp preparation, I seared scallops instead.

If you’ve ever wanted to make Pad Thai, give this recipe a go. You won’t be disappointed. The measurements are metric, as this book was originally published in Thailand. Although a US Version has not been released, I found mine on Amazon.

Pad Thai Goong Sod

Adapted from The Principles of Thai Cookery, by Chef McDang

Serves 4

Ingredients:

60ml vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

250g prawns, peeled and cleaned (or other protein)

150g white bean curd, diced small

80g sweet pickled Chinese turnip (daikon), finely chopped

30g dried shrimp

300g dry Thai rice stick noodles (Chantaburi), soaked in cold water until strands are white, drained

230ml Pad Thai sauce (Recipe below)

2 eggs

150g bean sprouts

70g chives, cut into 1 ½ inch lengths

50g unsalted, toasted peanuts, chopped

Chili powder (for garnish), as required

4 lime wedges (for garnish)

Preparation:

  1. In a wok, heat 2 Tbsp of the oil over moderate heat. Add garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. Add prawns and stir-fry until pink but not cooked. Immediately take out of the wok and reserve.
  2. In the same wok, add a little more oil, then add white bean curd and dried shrimp. Stir-fry until bean curd browns.
  3. Add the noodles and stir-fry to soften. Add Pad Thai sauce, a little at a time. Stir-fry to mix quickly. The noodles will soften further and absorb the flavors of the sauce. Taste.
  4. If the flavors are not intense enough, add a little more sauce and allow it to seep into the noodles. Add the pickled Chinese turnip and more dried shrimp. Stir-fry to incorporate these ingredients.
  5. Move the noodles to once side of the wok. Add the cooked shrimp and a little oil to the bottom of the wok. Raise the temperature and crack the eggs into the bottom of the pan.
  6. Cover the eggs with the noodles. Reduce the heat a little and allow the eggs to cook.
  7. Toss all the noodles together to spread the eggs. Mix in the bean sprouts, the chopped Chinese chives, and peanuts.
  8. Serve the Pad Thai, garnished with fresh bean sprouts, Chinese chives, banana blossom and a lime wedge. If you like peanuts, add a few more to the side of the plate.

Pad Thai Sauce

Ingredients:

300g pickled garlic

100g fresh garlic, peeled and chopped

170g fresh Thai chile peppers

3 cups chili sauce (I used the Taste of Thai brand, but any chili sauce will work)

1 cup pickled garlic juice

1 kg palm sugar

375ml distilled vinegar

3 cups tamarind juice

3 Tbsp salt

½ cup fish sauce

3 liters water

Preparation:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer the mixture to the saucepan, stir to mix well and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simer in order to allow the sauce to evaporate and thicken. Once the liquid is reduced almost by half and tastes sweet, sour and slightly salty, allow it to cool. Once cooled, transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate ready for use when making Pad Thai.

Sauce will be enough for 12-15 servings.

Monday
Jul022012

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

This weekend we went strawberry picking. In Seattle, thanks to Jon Rowley (the man who brought us Copper River Salmon) it’s ALL about Shuksan strawberries. They’re ripe, they’re juicy and they’re extremely perishable. When you get your hands on some, you have about 30 seconds to figure out what to do with them before they begin to spoil. They’re that ripe.

This weekend, there Jon hosted a picking event at a farm in Mt. Vernon (about an hour north of Seattle). A group of about 20 people descended on the farm at 9am, got the primer on these gems, and were all set loose to pick their own.  It was muggy (rare for Seattle), rainy (not so rare) and a muddy mess in the fields, but we were determined to find our own perfect berries. Now, as someone who loves cooking and for whom sustainability is top of mind, it is very important for me to go to farms and get closer to my food. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Was that believable? Screw that pretentious blather. It was muggy and gross, and there was no cocktail service. But we had fun seeing some familiar faces, meeting some new ones, and joking about whether or not the berries would survive the hour-long drive home without turning into their own moldy ecosystem. “Oh my god, I blinked….I think it made my berries rot”!

Joking aside, it was a fun experience, and it was cool to learn about the berries, the marketing behind them, and meet the 6th generation farmer who hosted the group.

When I got home and hosed the mud off, I searched for strawberry shortcake recipes online. Fearing my baketardedness, I decided to go with Emeril’s recipe for a strawberry shortcake trifle. Trifles are delicious, and forgiving if you screw up the cake...WHICH I DIDN'T DO, for the record. The cake was delicious on its own, but adding booze to it at the end made it even better. The recipe calls for ½ cup of liqueur ala the famous 70s Jello Poke Cake. I doubled that for ours, and I think it could still take a little bit more. When in doubt, add more booze.

Yes, Kairu. I MADE the cake. From scratch. It didn’t come from Safeway. As you can tell from the photo, it was so delicious, it sparkled!

And you’re a bitch.

Strawberry Shortcake

(Adapted from Emeril Lagasse)

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus 2 teaspoons, softened

 6 large eggs, at room temperature

2 tablespoons milk, at room temperature

3 1/3 cups granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 pounds strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced

1/2 cup orange-flavored liqueur, plus a little more for drizzling (recommended: Grand Marnier)

1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

5 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9 by 13-inch glass casserole with the 2 teaspoons of butter and set aside.

Combine the eggs and milk in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until frothy. Add 1 1/3 cups of the sugar and continue to beat at high speed until the mixture is quite thick and pale yellow, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Fold this mixture gently into the egg mixture. Gently stir in the melted butter and then transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and bake in the center of the oven until risen and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack before proceeding.

Make the strawberry topping by combining the strawberries, remaining 2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup orange liqueur, and orange zest in a large bowl and tossing to combine. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to assemble the dessert.

Make the whipped cream by combining the heavy cream with the confectioners' sugar in a large bowl and beating with an electric mixer or whisk until slightly thickened. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until the mixture nearly forms stiff peaks.

When ready to assemble the dessert, poke holes all over the cake using a cake tester or toothpick. Drizzle cake with a little orange liqueur. Cut the cake into 1 1/2-inch cubes and place half of the cake cubes on the bottom of a deep-sided dessert bowl. Add half of the strawberry mixture over the top of the cake cubes, juices and all, spreading strawberries evenly with a spatula and allowing the juices to absorb into the cake. Top with the remaining cake cubes and then the remaining strawberries. Top with the whipped cream and serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 hour in advance before serving.

Monday
Jun252012

Animelle di Vitello in Agrodolce (Veal Sweetbreads with Sweet and Sour Sauce)

I love sweetbreads. They’re delicate in flavor, they’re versatile enough to fry, roast, or stuff into something else, and they’re cheap. If you can find them, that is. I’m surprised that many butchers don’t carry them, and the vendors at my favorite farmer’s market only have them a couple times per year. When I can procure them, I buy a few pounds and freeze them. I can't help it. I LOVE THEM.

Sweetbreads fall into the offal category, and no, they’re not a nice way of saying “brains”. They’re typically veal, and they can be either thymus gland or pancreas. Most of the time you’re getting thymus.  When I tell people sweetbreads are part of a menu, most of them go to brains. I did too—WHO TAUGHT US THIS???  It’s like we all have unconsciously absorbed this mass of false information that has no basis in reality. Like being a Tea Party voter.

But I digress.

I have two favorite sweetbread recipes. One is from the Chanterelle cookbook, and the sweetbreads are fried and tossed in a spicy, deep ginger and orange sauce – like an upscale General Tso’s chicken.  The one I’m sharing with you today is from (I know you’re sick of hearing me rave about this book) Giorgio Locatelli’s Made in Italy: Food and Stories.  In previous blog posts, I’ve given you Giorgio’s balls.  You’ve seen the nettle risotto, and been warned about the prick if you aren’t careful with that. I’ve told you how my friend Becky came to dinner, tweaked his recipe and had a table of guests swooning over what she could do with her fish. This time, we’re going for the throat…

Sweetbreads are a bit of a pain. First, they have to be soaked for at least 24 hours, but all you have to do there is change the water a few times. Next, you have to remove the membrane from around them. Once they’ve soaked, it’s a pretty quick process. And yeah, I know it sounds gross to cook anything involving the word “membrane”. The meat sauce that goes with this dish will become your de facto meat sauce base. I promise. It’s like a quick demi-glace, and it’s incredibly rich. You can make the veal sauce and the agrodolce a day in advance if you like, and clean the sweetbreads a couple of hours ahead. Once your guests arrive, it’s a quick process to fry these up, toss them in one sauce and top with another.

The only variation I made to this recipe was to ignore the instructions for sautéed spinach, because I find it boring. I subbed in some garlicky sauteed pea vines instead. Use whatever veg you want here. The sweetbreads are the star of the show.

My copy of this book is from the UK, so the measure here are metric. I’m entering the recipe as it is given in the book, but italicizing my variations and commentary.

Animelle di Vitello in Agrodolce (Veal Sweetbreads with Sweet and Sour Sauce)

Adapted from Giorgio Locatelli

4 handfuls of spinach

20g unsalted butter

100ml extra virgin olive oil

4 large carrots

1 garlic clove

1 bay leaf

4 veal sweetbreads, each about 120g, peeled and washed

1 tablespoon plain flour

2 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil

8 tablespoons Veal Sauce (recipe below)

Agrodolce di capperi (recipe below)

Salt and pepper

Preparation:

Blanch the spinach in boiling salted water for 5 seconds, refresh under cold running water, drain and squeeze out the excess water. Put into a pan with half the butter and half the olive oil.

Blanch the whole carrots for a couple of minutes in boiling salted water drain and leave to cool naturally, then cut at an angle into slices about 1cm thick.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Centigrade (480 Farenheit).

Crush the garlic with the back of a knife and put into a pan with the rest of the oil, the bay leaf and the sliced carrots. Place over a very low heat, cover with a lid and gently stew for about 10-12 minutes, until the carrots are soft. Take off the heat.

If the sweetbreads are still whole, gently break them apart (They will fall naturally into pieces). Season and dust with flour. Heat a large sauté pan (that will transfer to the oven), add the sunflower or vegetable oil and put in the pieces of sweetbread. Cook until golden on all sides, turn the heat down, leave for a minute, then transfer to the oven for about 3 minutes until cooked through. When they are ready, if you press them with your finger they should be springy, like a sponge cake. Or your mom’s ass.

While the sweetbreads are cooking, put the pan containing the spinach on to the heat to warm through, and season. Then put the pan containing the carrots back on the heat to warm through.

Take the sweetbreads out of the oven and let the pan cool down slightly, put it on the hob (“What the fuck is a hob”, you ask? It’s a stove top burner. Not to be confused with a hob-knocker, which is an entirely different thing. Look that one up on urban dictionary.), pour in the sauce, and heat through. Toss the sweetbreads in the sauce to coat. Take off the heat and carefully beat in the remaining butter, taking care not to smash the sweetbreads.

Spoon the spinach into the middle of your warmed plates and arrange the carrots around. Lift out the sweetbreads and spoon on top of the spinach. Then pour the veal sauce over the top. Finish with a tablespoon of agrodolce over each plate.

Basic Sauce for Meat

Makes 750ml to 1 liter

2-3 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil

400g meat trimmings (chicken, veal, pork, lamb, beef, venison, duck, pigeon, partridge, your neighbor’s cat, feral children,…). Note: I didn’t have meat trimmings so I just bought a cheap cut of veal on the bone. Don’t spend a lot of money on this—it’s just to caramelize and give depth of flavor.

1 carrot, diced into roughly the same size as the meat (make sure the dice are the same size so they cook evenly)

2 garlic cloves

1 sprig of rosemary

1 bay leaf

1 shallot, diced

20-30g butter

1 teaspoon flour

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1.5 liters good stock (chicken, veal, etc., depending on your meat,) For this dish, I used veal stock, but really anything will do. It’s flexible.

400 ml (A little more than half a bottle) Chianti or other red wine. Note that this is optional for the basic meat sauce described here, but for this veal sweetbread recipe it adds amazing depth of flavor.

Preparation:

Heat the pan to medium-hot, then put in the oil.

Just before it starts to smoke, put the trimmings into the pan a few at a time, making sure they all touch the bottom of the pan. Leave these to roast without touching them for 2-3 minutes, until they start to become golden underneath. Turn them until they are golden and caramelized on all sides, another 5-10 minutes.

Add the carrot, garlic and herbs, and leave to roast for another 2-3 minutes, then add the shallots and roast for another couple of minutes.

Turn down the heat, add the butter and let it foam without burning. If adding wine, add it now and let it reduce until some of the alcohol has evaporated – I let it go 10-15 minutes.

Add the flour and tomato paste, turn up the heat again, and cook for a minute or so, until the temperature of the pan has come up again.

Add the stock, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to the boil, skim, turn down the heat and cook for about half an hour.  

Put through a fine sieve and reduce until you have a sauce consistency.  I let this baby simmer and reduce for about 2 hours until it was a thick, deep, decadent sauce

Agrodolce di Capperi (Caper Sweet and Sour Sauce)

5 tablespoons white wine vinegar

70g caster sugar

100g capers in brine, drained, washed and dried

100ml extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

Make the agrodolce sauce by putting the vinegar and sugar in a small pan and letting it bubble up and reduce to a clear syrup.

Hand-blend the capers, very slowly, adding the syrup (as if making a mayonnaise), then blend in the oil (again very slowly, so that the sauce doesn’t split) until creamy. Transfer to a small pan and keep on a very low heat, without boiling, for about 15-20 minutes, until any excess liquid disappears and the sauce is very thick. Leave to cool.

Thursday
Jun212012

Croxetti al Sugo D’Anatra (Croxetti Pasta with Duck Sugo

Ok, first of all let me get this part out of the way. The reason I’m posting a big savory pasta recipe the first day of summer (instead of the first day of Fall) is this: We just got back from three weeks in Italy.  I know, I hate me too…but understand, we’ve been planning this trip, putting it aside for other (also cool, but not Italy) vacations, and then planning it again. We shelved it again last year the NIGHT before we were to leave, due to a doggie cancer scare and 19 weeks of chemo (she reacted well to the treatment and is still doing ok), and then patiently planned it again. Did I mention we've been doing this for for ten years? Ten. Fucking. Years.

So by the time we finally went, we did it up right. Two Michelin 3-Stars and a host of little mama and papa-owned restaurants, each with a handful of tables. We played in the north and spent more time in the South, seeing the requisite museums, ruins, and scenery that just didn’t seem real. The Michelin over-the-top restaurants made us swoon. So did the inexpensive trattorias. Equal swoonage, different experiences.

Our favorite small, local find was Vini e Vecchi Sapori in Florence. I had made reservations in advance through our hotel, because the Trip Advisor reviews on this restaurant gushed about how amazing it was, and they warned there were only 6-8 tables and that it filled up quickly. We were planning to meet some friends with whom I’d reconnected (after 20 years) through Twitter, since they were going to be in town at the same time. We had a complete blast. The place filled up quickly, the waiter (the owners’ son) came out and explained the menu to us in English, and we ordered as much as we thought we could handle. And then more. With four of us, all connected by food and snark, it was easy. We took a lot of pictures of the food, because when you’re on vacation, if you don’t…you won't remember what you had, or what the nuances were. Fortunately, there’s an app on the ipad which allows you to write on photos (DrawCast), so I could scrawl notes to myself.

There were two dishes that night that especially blew me away. Everything was good. Everything. But the osso bucco was the best I’ve ever tasted, and they did a duck sauce with pappardelle I knew I’d never stop thinking about.  Armed with a lot of red wine, I asked the waiter if there was any chance the chef would share the recipe. “Of COURSE”, he replied.

Mama had come out of the kitchen (reluctantly) earlier in the evening when someone wanted to take a photo. She was obviously uncomfortable with doing that. We could tell she was shy. Not so much when it came to talking about food. She came out, we went on and on about how amazing that duck sauce was, and she started explaining what she had done (in Italian). She lit up while talking about the food. Her son tried to translate as quickly as possible. I typed notes into my iPad as fast as I could while our friends Rob and Michelle recorded her instructions on their phone. The recipe wasn’t fussy or complicated. Just delicious. I’ll tell you how to make the sauce, but first there’s one more part of the story to tell: The Pasta.

The biggest highlight of our time in Florence was meeting up with my friend Judy Witts Francini. I met Judy when she came to Seattle in person a couple of years ago to give an Italian cooking class, but had been following her on Twitter for some time as well, and was an avid follower of her blog for years before that. (Her blog was where I learned how to make one of my favorite italian condiments, Mostarda. That’s worth its own blog post, though, because it took me four damned years to get my hands on the right mustard oil to make it and it’s a pain in the ass.) Judy was very generous with her time, took us out to Chianti to meet Dario Cecchini, who I’d read about and who was on my bucket list, and showed us all over the markets in Florence. Judy knows EVERYONE in town. There’s their regular prices for tourists, and then there’s “Judy-Price”.  We stopped at one shop for prosecco and little black truffle sandwiches, went to another for some local pastries, stopped to meet one of her friends who sold us incredible olive oil and aged balsamico, then to the butcher to see all the things they do with wild boar. Then there was the big market with the hottest Italian butchers you’ve ever seen. Hot men working with big meat. Pinch me.

Heyyyyyyy, Papi.....


One of our stops was to a specialty kitchen store, where Judy promised me I could find croxetti stamps. These pasta stamps are native to Liguria and if you’re lucky enough to go there, you can have them hand-carved to your specifications. In this shop there were a few different pre-made decorations available, so I chose one with a fleur de lis on one side, and a spiral on the other. Basically, you roll out fresh pasta dough, cut out circles with one side of stamp, and press them on the other side such that the design goes into the dough. This seemed to be the perfect accompaniment to the pasta sauce mama told me how to make.

Now, because the sauce was a translation and she was speaking in very broad terms, mine will likely not be the exact dish we had in Italy. This in mind, the dish I tried to recreate for us was delicious and to my taste-memory of that night, was very close. This is one of those recipes meant to be shared, so here you go. I’ve paired it with the croxetti but any pasta will do.

This recipe was my favorite rustic dish we tried on our trip. Next time, I’ll share the recipe for my favorite three-star dish. Thank god for chefs who share!

Croxetti al Sugo D’Anatra

(Croxetti with Duck Sugo)

For the pasta:

2 cups 00 flour

2 large duck eggs + 1 duck egg yolk

Salt (just a pinch)

2 Tbsp Olive oil

For the duck sauce:

1 young duck (Wild, if you can get one), cut into pieces

¼ cup duck fat or olive oil

1 celery rib, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 medium onion, diced

¼ lb. prosciutto, diced

Salt and pepper

Sage, chopped (I used two bunches—probably about 18 leaves)

1 bottle Red Wine

Fresh tomato puree in season, or 1 28-oz can pureed Italian tomatoes

Making the pasta:

I cheat with the kitchen aid when I make pasta. Pour the flour into the work bowl, put the eggs, oil and salt in a little well in the center, attach the dough hook and let it go until it forms a slightly soft, pliable mound of dough. You might need to add some water if it isn’t coming together, but don’t add too much or you will have to flour the shit out of your dough when you roll it through a pasta machine. Let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or so and then roll it out using whatever pasta maker you use. I use the kitchen aid attachment for lasagna sheets for this one.

To make croxetti, put the pasta through your machine until it’s about the same thickness as a lasagna dough. (I tried rolling this down to setting 4 on the kitchen aid attachment, which was too thin and it wouldn’t hold the stamp pattern.  Setting 6 was too thick, and made too much bite on the finished pasta. Call me Goldilocks…I finally settled onto setting 5 which was just right. I’d guess it was about 1/8” thick).

Stamping Croxetti:

Using a corzetti stamp, cut out pasta coins and imprint with the stamp Place coins on lightly floured, parchment or clean towel-lined trays. Cover coins with a clean dry towel as you work with the rest.

 

To make the duck sauce:

Clean the duck, putting aside the heart, gizzard and liver.

Heat duck fat or olive oil in a hot pan and brown the duck for a few minutes, turning to ensure a good sear on each piece. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add celery, carrot, onion, prosciutto and the reserved duck offal. Sautee this mixture until the onion is translucent and the prosciutto slightly browned.

Add the wine to the pan and reduce by about 1/3. Add the tomato sauce and place the duck back into the mixture. The wine/tomato mixture should just about cover the duck pieces. If it doesn’t, add a bit more wine or chicken stock.

Simmer the duck, covered, for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender and ready to fall off the bone. Remove from heat. Once cool enough to handle, remove the duck meat from the bone and add back into the sauce. Add the sage, and salt and pepper to taste. There should be enough acid in the sauce from the wine and tomatoes, but tweak with additional tomato sauce as you see fit. The sauce should have a bite of gaminess from the duck, a very rich flavor from the long cook time, and a herby note on the front of your tongue from the sage. It should also be fairly thick by this point. If not, reduce it down a bit more, uncovered.

To serve, drop the croxetti into boiling, salted water and cook 3-4 minutes until tender. Drain and toss with duck sauce and top with grated fresh pecorino-romano or your favorite parmesan.

You will eat the shit out of this dish.

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