Sometimes I pick the wine first and then think of a dish. I had a nice bottle of 2007 late harvest Gewurztraminer from Alsace and I thought it would be great with duck ravioli and orange sauce, and so that is what I prepared. The number of ingredients in this elegant dish is very limited, but the recipe is quite elaborate all the same. All of the flavor from the duck is used in the filling and the sauce. The bones are used to make duck stock, which gives more body to the sauce. The resulting dish was delicious and a perfect match with the wine. The orange sauce really calls for a wine with residual sugar, as a dry wine would appear sour next to it.
For about 30 ravioli, serves 4 to 8 as a primo piatto
1 duck leg, about 450 grams (1 pound)
zest of 1 untreated orange
0.5 litre (2 cups) freshly squeezed orange juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
honey to taste, about 1 tsp
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
carrot, onion and celery to make stock
fresh pasta dough made using 2 eggs and about 200 grams (1 1/3 cup) of Italian 00 flour
Score the skin of the duck with a diamond pattern. Season the duck with salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides…
…and put the grated zest of an orange on both sides.
Vacuum seal with the fresh thyme.
Cook the duck leg sous-vide for 24 hours at 74C/165F.
When the duck is cooked, take it out of the bag. Reserve the juices and refrigerate them to allow them to firm up into a jelly. Take the meat off the bones. Discard the skin and thyme. Reserve the bones and the meat.
Use a cleaver to crack the bones, so the flavor that is inside will end up in the stock.
Put the duck bones in a stock pot or pressure cooker with celery, onion, carrot, and black pepper corns. Cover with water.
Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 3 hours, or bring to pressure and pressure cook for 90 minutes.
Sieve the stock and discard the solids.
Bring the duck stock to a boil.
Juice enough oranges to end up with half a litre of orange juice.
Add the sifted orange juice to the duck stock.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer…
…and reduce until it is almost syrupy. Season the orange sauce with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and honey. It depends on the sweetness of the oranges if any honey is needed at all. With the oranges I used, about 1 teaspoon of honey was needed to balance out the acidity and bitterness of the oranges.
Put the duck meat in a food processor together with the jellied juices from cooking the duck.
Process until finely chopped, but not completely pureed. The jellied juices make the filling moist.
Transfer the filling to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the filling to firm up.
You can make the ravioli in any shape that I like. I like to just fold the dough over the filling and cut the ravioli on three sides, as that is the fastest way I know. But you could also use a round cookie cutter to make half moon shaped ravioli (mezzalune) or squares to make tortelli.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When all the ravioli are done, add them to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. (If you did not roll out the pasta thin enough, more time may be needed.)
Serve the ravioli with the orange sauce on preheated plates.
As already mentioned, this is outstanding with a Gewurztraminer from Alsace with some residual sugar.
Pasta is sometimes cooked in the way of risotto in Italian cooking, which means that it is cooked (or finished to be cooked) in stock. The pasta will take on the flavor of the stock, so this will give your pasta dish great depth of flavor. This works exceptionally well for pasta with dried porcini mushrooms, as you can use the porcini soaking liquid to finish cooking the pasta. Combined with the reconstituted porcini mushrooms, fresh mushrooms, and parmigiano, this makes for one hell of a flavor bomb from all that umami. Click here for the recipe!