Now this is not an everyday dish, this is a dish to call on for treat days. It’s big, creamy and rich with comforting warm flavours of mushrooms and parmesan wrapped around silky pasta. This dish delivers big on flavours without being overly complicated so it’s definitely one to try. You could easily have this pasta and sauce on it’s own but the duck breast adds real decadence and makes this dish into a special occasion meal.
- 500g pasta
- 4 duck breasts
- 250 packet of mushrooms
- Packet of dried mushroom
- 100g parmesan
- 4 heaped tablespoons of extra thick double cream
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1/2 lemon
- 150g cavolo nero
- 4 garlic cloves
- Pepper and salt
- 50g butter
- You will need two sauce pans, one for the pasta and one for the mushrooms, and one frying pan for the duck.
- Take the the duck out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature, this helps to cook the duck more evenly. Remove any excess fat and snip off the white piece of sinew from the breast meat.
- Remove any big pieces of stalk from the cavolo nero
- Boil the kettle for the pasta
- Slice the fresh mushrooms
- Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup of boiled water
- Chop or grate the garlic
- Chop the rosemary
Melt the butter in one of the sauce pans and add the fresh mushrooms, cook these down on a medium/high heat. With mushrooms, the first part of the cook is when the water is released, we want to take it past this point so the water is cooked away and the mushrooms start to fry again. This should take about 8-10 minutes but it makes sure we get a more intense mushroomy flavour. Once these have cooked down add the garlic and rosemary, stir. Drain the soaked mushrooms from the liquor, keeping the liquor for later. Chop the soaked mushrooms and add to the fresh mushrooms. Now we can add the mushroom soaking liquor, do this slowly as sometimes there can be some grit at the bottom and you don’t want this in your velvety sauce. Cook this to reduce the liquid down to a couple of tablespoons, stir in 4 tablespoons of extra thick double cream. Add the parmesan, salt and pepper and the juice of 1/2 a lemon and the sauce is done. This can sit off the heat while you concentrate on the rest of the cook.
The ‘Fry’ and the ‘boil’ happen at the same time, so make sure you have the pasta water ready and boiling as you put the duck on. The time it takes to cook the pasta is about the same time it takes to cook the duck so it is juicy and pink throughout.
Season the breasts on both sides and then place the breasts, skin side down, in a cold frying pan. Place the pan on the heat and cook on the skin side for 8 mins on a medium/high heat. Turn and cook for a further 5 mins on the other side, baste with the duck fat and juices in the pan. remove from the pan and allow to rest for two minutes.
Cook the pasta and the cavolo nero together in salted boiling water for 2 minutes less than the packet instructions. This can help to not over cook the pasta and allows time to marry the pasta and the sauce together.
Warm the sauce through on a low heat. Drain the pasta and cavolo nero, making sure you retain approx 1 cup of the starchy pasta water. Place the pasta back in the pan and pour over the sauce and half of the pasta water. The pasta water works with the cream sauce to create the perfect consistency to hug the pasta. Gently, but confidently, fold the pasta and sauce together adding more pasta water as required. Pile the pasta high and add the sliced and crispy duck breast on top. Sprinkle with a little extra parmesan.