Hosting friends while needing to accommodate for dietary restrictions can be tricky. Impress guests with a wholesome pasta dish that combines braised local duck with all the tastes of fall: sage, hazelnuts and butternut squash.
- Prep time 35 minutes
- Cooking time 2 hours
- Total time 2 hours & 35 minutes
Recipe courtesy of the Catelli 150th Anniversary Recipe Collection—celebrating 150 years young with Canada.
In a medium sized sauce pan, combine chicken broth, red wine and tomato paste; whisk until incorporated. Add duck legs, cinnamon, fennel seeds, carrots, onion, celery, peppercorns, thyme sprigs, garlic, 3 pinches of salt and cover with a tight fitting lid. Place over low heat and allow to simmer for 75 minutes (be sure to check periodically to ensure it is at a slight simmer).
Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss butternut squash with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake squash for approximately 15 minutes or until lightly browned and just tender. Let cool and reserve.
Lift lid off of sauce pan to check on duck; meat should pull freely away from the bone and be fork tender. If meat is still tight, place lid back onto sauce pan and continue cooking for 15 more minutes or until desired result is obtained. Pull duck legs carefully out of pot and onto a plate to cool. Strain sauce over a bowl, save stock and discard bones and braising vegetables.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook penne according to package directions.
Pour duck stock (approx. 2 cups remaining) into a large sauté pan for braising over medium heat. Add leeks and simmer for 3 minutes. Check consistency of duck stock. If too watery, continue to reduce liquid until it yields a flavourful, rich broth. Pick duck meat off of bone and place directly into broth. Add roasted squash to pan and keep at a simmer until pasta is cooked and strained.
Add strained pasta to sauce pan along with sage leaves, parsley, hazelnuts and butter. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Plate and drizzle with olive oil, generous shavings of pecorino cheese and extra hazelnuts.
Makes 4-6 servings.