Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mlinzi con Polpetti di Anatra

This is a take on a classic dish from Istria(NE Italy, Now part of Croatia). Mlinzi or Mlinci depending on the dialect are an irregular shaped oven dried pasta. The sheets are rolled out and then baked in the oven until crispy. Then they are broken into smaller pieces and boiled until tender. They are typically paired with a goose or duck ragu. I have served them with meatballs that are made out of duck. What you are left with is a delicious pasta that reminds you of the old days.

TT = to taste

For Pasta:
2 1/2 cups Unbleached AP Flour
1 cup Semolina Flour
5 Lg. Eggs Room Temp
3T Olive oil
1T salt

combine all ingredients for pasta together
knead for a few minutes, then wrap in plastic and set aside for half hour
unwrap dough and cut into 4 pieces
wrap pieces not being used so they don't get dried out
Using a manual pasta roller, start on largest setting - #1
knead pasta through machine ten times
then roll out 3 times on largest setting - #1
then drop down 2 settings to #3, and run through 3 times
then drop down 2 more to second thinnest setting - #5
run through #5 one time, use flour as needed when rolling through the pasta machine, but try not to add too much or dough will get dry
Place sheets on baking sheets and put into 350F preheated oven and bake until golden brown and crispy (about 10 minutes)
Remove from oven and break into small irregular shapes
Set aside until ready to use

For meatballs:
2 Magret duck Breasts about 2# total weight
6 oz pancetta
2 1/2 cups day old bread cubes
2 eggs
1 cup dry cherries
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, small dice
1T fresh chopped rosemary
2T grappa
1 cup grated Montasio Cheese (substitute parmigiano reggiano)
TT salt
TT black pepper
4-6T Rendered Duck Fat

Remove the fat and skin from the duck breasts
trim the fat off of the skin and reserve each
place the duck breasts, fat from duck breasts & pancetta in the freezer for 1 hour
Place meat grinding attachments in freezer for 1 hour
saute the onions and garlic together on med heat in a 1-2T of olive oil or duck fat until softened
transfer to refrigerator to cool
Assemble the meat grinder
cut the duck breasts and pancetta into cubes
run the duck, duck fat & pancetta through the coarse setting on the meat grinder.
place the ground meat in a mixing bowl
soak the bread in a bowl of cold water for a couple of minutes
squeeze the excess water out of the bread
add the eggs, cherries, onions, garlic, cheese, bread, rosemary & grappa to the meat
season with salt and pepper
form into meatballs a little larger than a golf ball in size
heat the duck fat in a large saute pan over med-high heat
cook the reserved skin in the duck fat to render out the excess fat from the skin
(the skin cracklings can be save as a garnish for pasta dish if you like)
once hot enough add the meatballs in batches and brown on both sides (a couple minutes per side
Proceed to sauce part of recipe

For Sauce:
1 6oz can tomato paste
2 sprigs rosemary
1/4 cup grappa
2 cups duck stock (substitute chicken stock)
TT salt
TT papper

strain out some of the duck fat so there is a 2-3T left and reserve the rest for later use
add the tomato paste to the duck fat and cook on medium heat stirring occasionally until emulsified and paste has darkened (10-15 minutes)
add the rosemary, grappa & duck stock
bring to boil and reduce by 1/3
add the meatballs to the sauce and transfer to the 350F oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until meatballs are done
remove the meatballs and reserve warmed, skim off any rendered fat and season to taste with salt and pepper
keep sauce warm
bring 6qts of water to a boil
once boiling, add 2T of sea salt
drop pasta into boiling water in batches
cook until pasta is tender 3-5 minutes
transfer to sauce and toss together
repeat until all pasta has been cooked off
transfer cooked pasta to individual bowls or plates
garnish with meatballs and a little grated montasio or parmigiano reggiano cheese
serve immediately

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