Ravioli dell’Anatra di Arrosto
The Visitation ended, far too quickly, and Zia is back in Michigan. While here, we met with family and friends, both near and far, new and old. We toured my favorite Italian and farmers markets and we dined out a couple of times, including our customary Friday night fish fry. This being Chicago, however, this fish fry took place at a sushi restaurant. Of course, I did cook and some of the recipes will make their way to this blog. All the while, incredibly, we were graced with some of the year’s best weather. All in all, it was a wonderful visit and I hope to import her again next year. Fingers crossed.
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The making of ravioli has roots that go as far back as the 14th century in the North of the Italian peninsula and perhaps even earlier in Sicily. (Source: Wikipedia). Their creation involves a couple of axioms I’ve said many times before: nothing is wasted in a traditional Italian kitchen, and, meat was a dish reserved for holidays and special occasions. Well, when meat was served — and with no means of refrigeration — leftovers were a problem. Let’s face it: re-heating a piece of roast over a hearth isn’t necessarily the most appetizing means of dealing with leftovers. On the other hand, finely chopping the meat before adding it to, perhaps, a little cheese and some greens, and using the mixture to fill pasta “pockets” would make quite a tasty alternative. Not only that but a little bit of leftover meat would go a long way, far enough to feed the entire family.
This was certainly the case when Zia and I were left with some roasted duck after our meal. We discussed how to use the leftovers and decided that making ravioli was the best way to go. I think we were pretty successful, as does my Zia. In fact, when we roasted a goat shoulder during my next visit, Zia set about making ravioli filling with the leftovers, as well. Frozen, it awaits my return so that we can make “goat” ravioli. The recipes for both the roast goat and the subsequent ravioli filling will be published soon.
There is nothing complicated about our duck ravioli recipe, though the use of broccoli raab, rapini, requires a bit of blanching. How long depends upon your taste and whether you are fond of bitter greens. Blanching will remove some of the bitterness, as well as soften the vegetable’s “woody” stalks. Since we both do not mind rapini’s bitterness, we kept the blanching to a minimum. You, on the other hand, may wish to blanch the vegetable for a few minutes more and, therefore, boil away more of its bitter flavor.
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Roast Duck Ravioli Filling Recipe
- 9 oz (250 g) skinless roast duck, shredded (See Notes)
- 10 oz (280 g) rapini (broccoli raab)
- 2 large red onions, sliced
- 2 tbsp butter
- extra virgin olive oil
- Marsala wine
- 1 cup ricotta, drained
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
- 1 large egg
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Melt butter in a large fry pan over medium heat. Add onions and stir to coat with the butter.
- Sauté for about 10 minutes, season lightly with salt and pepper, lower to med-low heat, and continue to cook, stirring frequently. You want the onions to brown but not burn. It may take from 30 minutes to an hour to be fully caramelized. Add a little bit of olive oil if the onions are too dry.
- Just before the onions are ready, deglaze the pan with a couple ounces of Marsala wine. The onions will be ready when the wine has evaporated.
- Once the onions have cooled, drain any excess liquids before placing them in a clean kitchen towel, wringing out as much moisture as possible.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil.
- Add the rapini and, once the boil returns, blanch the rapini for 5 minutes.
- Remove the rapini from the boiling water and immediately place the vegetable into an ice water bath.
- Once fully cooled, drain the rapini of as much liquid as possible before wringing in a clean kitchen towel.
- Use a meat grinder — or food processor — to grind the duck, caramelized onions, and blanched rapini.
- Add the Pecorino Romano and ricotta cheeses to the mince and stir well.
- Taste to check for seasoning before adding the egg. Stir till well-combined, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
- The filing is now ready to be used to make ravioli.
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For step-by-step instructions for making ravioli using dies/molds, please check out my previous post for Ravioli dei Bartolini.
Here’s Mom’s Pasta Dough recipe, for those who need one. In this case, I substituted 3 duck eggs for the 4 large chicken eggs.
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Dress ravioli with brown butter-sage sauce to which grated Pecorino Romano cheese has been added. Garnish with sage leaves that have been shallow-fried until crisp in olive oil. (See opening photo.)
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