This recipe from chef Stefano Manfredi matches parmesan and potato gnocchi with a rich duck ragu. This classic Italian sauce is flavoured with sage, dry white wine and piquant juniper berries, which are available from selected supermarkets and delis.
- ¼ cup firmly packed sage leaves
- 1 small carrot, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 3 (about 500 g) duck marylands
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 185 ml (¾ cup) dry white wine
- 70 g (¼ cup) tomato paste
- 3 juniper berries (see Note), crushed with a knife blade
- grated parmesan, to serve
- 800 g (about 4) sebago potatoes
- 200 g (1⅓ cups) plain flour
- 2 egg yolks
- 40 g (½ cup) grated parmesan
- ¼ tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drink 2007 Damijan Podversic Malvasia Istriana IGT, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy.
Process sage, carrot, celery and onion in a food processor until finely chopped. Set aside.
Season duck with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large pan over high heat. Cook duck, skin-side down, for 5 minutes or until golden. Using tongs, transfer duck to a plate, reserving pan with oil. Add carrot mixture to reserved pan and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until softened. Add wine, tomato paste and juniper berries, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes or until liquid has reduced by half. Return duck to pan with enough water to just cover, season and simmer for 2 hours or until duck is tender and liquid has thickened.
Meanwhile, to make gnocchi, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. When cool enough to handle, peel potatoes, then mash them in a large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients and 1½ tsp salt until a dough forms; do not overmix or gnocchi becomes tough. Divide into 6, then shape each piece into 1 cm-thick logs. Cut into 3 cm-wide pieces and lightly press with a fork to indent tops or use a gnocchi roller.
Using a slotted spoon, remove duck from pan, reserving sauce, then remove meat from bones. Discard bones, chop meat, then return duck to sauce. Set aside and keep warm.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook gnocchi, in 2 batches, for 4 minutes or until gnocchi rises to the surface. Drain, then combine with duck ragù. Serve with parmesan.
• Juniper berries, from selected supermarkets and delis, have a piquant flavour. Substitute cracked black peppercorns.
As seen in Feast magazine, Feb 2012, Issue 6.
Photography by Alan Benson.