Duck Confit and Tagliatelle

Duck Confit and Tagliatelle

Where has March gone?  Where is April going? I cannot keep track of this spring and it seems to be slipping away. For example, I made this duck confit (post on how to make duck confit itself, here) and then I made this pasta and then two months passed and now we're here

And here seems to be spring break, our move to Richmond (oh, Oakland how we already miss you), and a life lived out of boxes, which admittedly, we have been doing lately.  I have come to appreciate the well-labelled box, and to shake my fist at my past self who labelled far too many boxes "Miscellaneous."  Those are the most frightening boxes.

Until we have a full kitchen, I am resurrecting old dinners that I haven't posted and am subsisting on pickles and popcorn. Both of which I love. Don't judge. I just love salt, okay? 

Maybe I'll just get a salt lick for the new kitchen. It could happen.

However, if you're feeling fancy (and we both know you and I like to feel fancy), then I recommend this dish. While the duck confit takes a while itself, the pasta is a snap. One of those jazzy snaps that requires a fancy French beret and a cigarette, mind you, but a snap nonetheless. Unhurried (read: this takes a long time) and a little bit sophisticated without announcing itself as such, duck confit requires patience. But the pasta, well, the pasta could be thrown together with just enough planning to saute some sunchokes. That's all you need--well, if you have them, go ahead and saute up some wild mushrooms because those would be divine in this recipe. 

So this weekend, maybe make some duck confit (until I post the recipe I used, this one seems like a good one), and then all next week, eat succulent, luxurious duck, as you marvel at how this spring is passing us by so quickly already.


Duck Confit and Tagliatelle

Adapted from Ithai Schori and Chris Taylor's Twenty Dinners

Serves 4

Olive oil
1 medium shallot, diced small
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 cup Marsala or Madeira
2 cups duck or beef stock
2 legs duck confit
1/2 cup crushed walnuts or pecans
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
8 2-inch long sunchokes, cut into ¼-inch slices
1 lemon, cut into wedges
¾-1 pound tagliatelle
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Put a pot of salted water on the stove to boil for the pasta.

2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Sweat the shallots until their are translucent, about 5 minutes. Lightly season with salt, and then add the garlic. Sweat for another minute. 

3.  Pour the Marsala into the pan (be careful to do it slowly, as you're pouring alcohol into a hot pan and if you have a gas range top, then it's over an open flame). Bring the Marsala to a boil over medium heat, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until it begins to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and reduce the stock mixture until it is a bit thinner than maple syrup.  Remove the pan from the heat. 

4.  Using your fingers, tear up the duck confit into bite-sized pieces.Add the duck and the crushed nuts (either walnuts or pecans) to the sauce and reserve.

5.  Warm the tablespoon of butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat and allow it to foam and brown lightly. Saute the sunchokes, with a pinch of salt, until they have softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sunchokes to a small bowl. Finish them by squeezing a little bit of lemon over the top of them. Set them aside.

6.  Cook the tagliatelle in the boiling, salted water until al dente.  Strain, reserving about ½ cup  of the pasta's water; add the pasta water to the reserved sauce. Warm the sauce over low heat, add he remaining tablespoon of butter, and stir as it heats to make a butter emulsion. Taste for salt and add a generous amount of pepper. 

7.  Mix the pasta with the sauce, and add the sunchokes. Top with a heaping of Parmesan cheese and finish with parsley.


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