Monday, February 24, 2014


More work than you can possibly imagine to end up with this

But to me, totally worth the resulting satisfaction

My goal here is to make two types of multi-colored ravioli:

  • Ravioli filled with Roast Duck and Morel Duxelle
  • Ravioli filled with Crawfish and Porcini Mushrooms
Roast Duck and Morel Duxelle:

For this recipe, one must first...roast a duck.

Roasted Duck:
  • Purchase a whole duck at your local grocery, usually sold as a frozen product
  • Defrost, remove neck, gizzard, heart and liver from cavity. Freeze all except liver for future stock ingredients. Reserve liver to use in Liver Pâté recipe
  • Trim off excess fat, reserve
  • Truss
  • Place in roaster on a rack to keep duck off bottom of roaster. Place excess fat on top of rack as well

  • Pre-heat oven to 300°
  • Roast uncovered, breast up for 1 hour
  • Flip, breast side down for 1 hour
  • Flip, breast side up for 1 hour
  • Flip, breast side down for 1 hour
  • Increase oven temperature to 400°, flip, breast side up for 10 minutes to crisp the skin, no more or you will burn the very valuable duck fat in the bottom of the roaster. You do not want the fat to smoke. If it smokes it's burnt. If it begins to smoke, reduce the temperature in the oven. It is more important not to burn the fat than to get the skin crisp
  • Remove from oven, allow to cool

  • Pour off duck fat from bottom of pan into through a fine sieve into a container, place into refrigerator, allow to solidify and then separate pure solidified duck fat from anything else non-fat that may be present. Freeze pure duck fat indefinitely for future use. This fat should be all but white. It is a wonderful alternative to other "fats" for any recipe
  • Once cool enough to handle, strip all duck meat from carcass. Shred leg, thigh meat by hand, cut breast meat into "julienne" with a knife. Be sure to get all available meat from carcass, including skin which should be quite crisp at this point. All of it needs to be shredded. Combine all, reserve in refrigerator

    Morel Mushroom Duxelle:

    Duck Fat - 60g
    Shallots - 80g - Minced
    Garlic - 10g - Minced
    Morel Mushrooms - 50g - Dried, Reconstituted, Rough Chop
    Roast Duck Meat - 474g - Rough Chop
    Dry Vermouth - 330g
    Fresh Thyme - 3g - Minced
    Salt and Fresh ground black pepper to taste

    Mise en place

    Reconstitute Morels by covering with warm water for 30 minutes

    Drain well, gently squeeze out excess water

    Rough chop after reconstituting

    • Heat duck fat over medium high heat
    • Sauté shallots and garlic until translucent, increase heat to high

    • Add mushrooms and duck meat, mix well and sauté just long enough for all to become hot 

    • Deglaze with Vermouth, reduce heat to medium

    • Add salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
    • Allow to simmer until all liquid is completely absorbed into mixture

    Reduce over medium heat until all liquid is absorbed

    About half way there

    Done, all liquid has been absorbed

    • When there is no liquid left, remove mixture to a mixing bowl and immediately add chopped fresh thyme. Mix well

    • Allow mixture to cool to room temperature

    While Duxelle is cooling, separately prepare the Liver Pâté;

    Chicken Liver Pâté:

    Duck Fat - 15g
    Shallots - 30g - Minced
    Garlic - 8g - Minced
    Chicken Livers - 263g - (and reserved Duck liver from roasted duck)
    • Trim off any obvious cartilage from livers
    Brandy - 65g
    Heavy Cream - 118g
    Salt and Fresh ground black pepper to taste

    Mise en place

    • Heat duck fat over medium high heat
    • Sauté shallots and garlic until translucent, increase heat to high

    • Add livers, sauté just long enough so that the livers are still pink in the middle

    Do not cook too long, you want them pink in the center when going into the food processor

    • Deglaze with brandy
    • Flame off, reduce heat to medium

    The alcohol will cook off without lighting on fire, but it's too much fun not to light it up!

    • Add cream
    • Reduce until cream has reached by 2/3rds 

    At this point my livers were as cooked as I wanted them

    So I removed them and continued to reduce my cream

    Note: It is important that the total cooking time results in livers that are cooked to medium rare (the          inside should be cooked, yet still distinctly pink)
    • Remove from heat and immediately puree to smooth paste in food processor

    • Remove from food processor to container

    Combine the Duxelle and Liver Pâté
    • Gently fold the liver pâté into the duxelle, mix until well combined

    Note: The secret ingredient to the duxelle is the liver pâté, but it should be just that...a secret.                  Therefore it is important to only add enough pâté to complement the dish, not overwhelm it.
    • Reserve in refrigerator

    Crawfish and Porcini Mushroom Filling:

    Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 20g
    Shallots -50g - Minced
    Garlic - 10g - Minced
    Dried Porcini Mushrooms - 100g - Reconstituted (Soak in warm water for 30 minutes) - Rough Chop
    Dry White Wine - 100g
    Heavy Cream - 472g
    Crawfish Tail Meat - 517g - Cooked - Whole
    Salt and White Pepper to taste
    Fresh Cilantro - 3g

    Mise en place

    •  Sauté Shallots until translucent

    • Add Mushrooms

    • Deglaze with White Wine

    • Reduce over medium heat until all liquid is absorbed

    • Add Cream

    • Bring to a simmer, reduce over medium heat

    • Simmer (do not boil) and reduce until a medium sauce thickness is achieved

    I ended up with more sauce than I wanted, so I simply removed some. I will use this in some other dish

    • Season with Salt and Pepper
    • When sauce is sufficiently thick, remove from heat, allow to cool to room temperature

    I ended up with 500g of sauce to add to Crayfish and Cilantro

    • Place Crawfish tail meat into a mixing bowl, add chopped fresh Cilantro
    • Add sauce and mix well until combined

    • Place in refrigerator to cool
    Note: As the crawfish tail meat is already cooked, you do not want to cook it any more or the tail meat will shrink and get tough. Be sure to allow the sauce to come to room temperature before adding it to the crawfish so that it will not cook the tail meat at all.

    Stuffing the Ravioli:

    • Make sure both stuffings are well chilled
    • Make the stuffing before you make the ravioli sheets
    • Brush your sheets lightly with water prior to placing the stuffing
    • Place the stuffing

    • Lay on the top sheet
    • Lightly seal 

    • Cut with your choice of cutter, I used a 3" round cutter
    • Place on a sheet pan with parchment paper lightly dusted with flour
    • Freeze
    • Bag in a ziplock and retain frozen until cooking, thaw before cooking otherwise the pasta gets overcooked before the filling is done

    Striped Pasta

    Striped Pasta Strips ready to roll out into sheets for Ravioli

    Ravioli Sheets of Striped Pasta

    There is a web site that inspired me to attempt this. It has wonderful pictures and was done by someone with obviously more experience than I. It's in German, yet my browser allowed me the option to translate from German into English. That helped me get more of an idea of how this is done, but if you do not have this option the pictures alone are worth a "look see":

    The Basic Pasta Dough Recipe:

    The Colored Pasta Dough Recipes:

    Please see previous post on "Stained Pasta"
    Pumpkin (Yellow)  
    Red Beet (Purple)
    Roasted Garlic (Beige)
    Jalapeno (Light Green)
    Tomato (Light Red)
    Wasabi (Pale Green)
    Basic (Yellowish tan)
    Squid Ink (Black)  
    Turmeric (Orange)
    Spinach (Green)
    Chili and Smoked Paprika (Red)
    Saffron and Lemon (Yellow)

    Multi-Colored Pasta - Building the "Block", Creating the Ravioli Sheets:

    • Make the stained pasta, keeping each as they are completed reserved in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap until all are made. 
    • Then when ready to begin to actually make the stripped pasta sheets, first remove all the different stained doughs from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. 
    • Gather everything you might need prior to starting (Mise en place)

    Mise en place (note dough in this picture has already been divided in half)

    • Begin by dividing each dough in half, reserving the 2nd half in the refrigerator for later use Keep the halves you will be working with wrapped in plastic wrap until you need it
    • One by one, run each color through the pasta roller on the thickest setting creating sheets that are as thick as your pasta machine will allow. (Mine is makes sheets approximately 1/8" thick)

    • Keep all sheets covered with damp cotton towels while until all sheets are created

    • Build layered multi-colored "block" 
      • Make sure your layers of different colored pastas are relaxed. 
      • Make sure they are not dried out, keep them covered with a lightly dampened cotton cloth while you work 
      • Make sure they are not covered in flour or they will not bind properly when stacked 
      • When all the desired colors are properly rolled into sheets, stack them one on top of the other. Lightly brush the top of each sheet with water to allow the next sheet to adhere. Less water is better in this application

    • When all desired colors are stacked, square edges of the stack with a sharp knife to create a perfect rectangle as square as possible

    • Cut "block" in half
    • Wrap each in plastic wrap and allow to rest/chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour

    • Cut each half lengthwise into four each 1/2" strips

    NOTE: I cut mine into three each 3/4" strips, I now believe that it would result in crisper less blurred lines if the pasta strips you cut at this point are thinner. If you have to then lay two side by side to result in a pasta sheet that is wide enough that would be no problem, simply glue them together with a little water

    Next time I will cut into 4 thinner strips rather than the 3 you see here

    • Once all are cut, cover the strips with damp cotton towels while you roll each one

    • Now flour the work bench 
    • Take one of the strips and lay it on top of the floured work bench rotated from it's original position 90°. The colored layers should now be vertical 
    • Working with a rolling pin, gently roll out the striped pasta into a rectangular sheet only as thin as the pasta roller requires to except at it's thickest setting without smashing the sheet of stripped dough as it enters. Work with the pin in a longitudinal direction only otherwise the lines of color will blur. 
    • When the sheet is sufficiently thin, use the pasta roller to process the sheet into the final sheet of Ravioli dough. I use setting #1 on my pasta roller 
    • Finally, remember to work quickly, if delayed at any point keep the dough at whatever stage it is covered in a lightly dampened cotton cloth. Do not at any point expose the dough to the air for an extended period of time unprotected or it will dry out

    Too much flash on the camera but still you can see the sheets

    Close up of striped sheets