Monday, May 12, 2014

What to do with duck eggs?

Why of course, make the absolute best-ever pasta dough!  Duck eggs are only available at the Cooperstown Farmers' Market for a short tome, and Sonja from Nectar Orchrds sells them by the half dozen.  I love to make pasta.  It is easy, it is fun, and it is really difficult to do wrong!  

Basic pasta dough:  Eggs, flour, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  It is also really easy to remember the process: two eggs, two cups of flour, one tablespoon olive oil, pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper.  I do not have a pasta board, so I use a large serving platter that has short sides.  Put the flour on the plate use a fork to mix the salt and pepper throughout and make a well.  Beat the eggs with the olive oil and put in the center of the well.  When I use duck eggs, I always beat them first because the yolk is a bit tough to break up easily.  Using a fork, pull the flour from underneath the walls of the well until a dough come together.  Once there, turn onto a floured board, kneading in flour until the dough is pliable and no longer sticky.  Wrap up in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for about half hour, forty-five minutes.  Handle the dough as little as possible, you do not want to develop the gluten proteins too much, the dough will become tough.  I always use 00 flour, not all-purpose, when I make pasta.  The end product is silky and tender.

I have a small pasta roller that I purchased years ago, great investment.  I can roll and cut.  Before I purchased the roller, I hand rolled with a French rolling pin and cut strips, measured with a ruler and then used the ruler as the straight-edge and cut with a pizza cutter.  This is on quarter of the round of dough the recipe produces. 


Before I cut the pasta dough, I always have the boiling water heavily salted and ready to go.  Once it comes to a serious boil, I add the salt, and then reduce the heat so that the pasta is not beat up!  Fresh pasta only takes minutes to cook, depending on the thickness.  I rolled mine to a 7 on the dial and then cut.  It only needed about two minutes and then I pulled it and put it in the sauce.

The sauce was easy.  I love garlic and olive oil on fresh pasta.  So here is my riff using fresh ingredients from the market.  Here is what I used:

One half pound package of pancetta and a dried pepper from Gaia's Breath Farm, a bunch of ramps from Painted Goat and olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice, and zest from my pantry.  I put a half inch dice on the pancetta, rendered it in the olive oil until the pieces were crisp, removed the meat and added the I chopped the bulbs and stems of the ramps and the pepper (cut in half) and added some smoked Himilayian sea salt and a few turns of freshly ground pepper.  I sautéd until ramps were tender, added the chopped leaves and wilted them in the oil.  I finished with the lemon juice and pulled the pasta from the water, added it to the pancetta/ramp mixture and combined gently.  I finished with Pecorino Romano cheese and the crispy pancetta.  Sprinkled with zest and served.

Yum, happy eating!


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