Duck and Mushroom Ravioli

This was easily one of the best meals I have devised and cooked. The pasta is light and 'al dente', the duck and mushroom filling is rich and wholesome and the glossy sauce just brings everything together. I love being able to use the pan juices and because of it, this sauce is bursting with the flavour of every ingredient used. The sage is fragrant, the butter gives it that gleam and the wine just cuts through the rich, robust flavours of the mushroom and garlic. Josh and I spent one afternoon preparing this so, yes, there are a few components but once you get started it is a lot of fun to make and so, so worth the effort!

What you'll need:
Whole duck, breast, wings and drumsticks removed
6 sage leaves, chopped
500g chicken mince
200g mushrooms, thinly slices
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
750ml chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
100g butter
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Peccorino or parmesan cheese, to serve

2 1/4 cups plain flour
4 eggs
Pinch of salt
Extra flour, for kneading

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Remove the meat from the duck, score the skin and put this used chopping board into the sink/dishwasher right away. Get yourself a new chopping board. Pour some olive oil into a large stove-proof baking dish and heat it over medium-high heat. Put the duck pieces in skin side down and fry for 5 minutes or until the fat has rendered and skin is golden and crispy. Bake for 20 minutes. While the duck is baking, chop up and prepare the other ingredients.

Pour in the stock and add the garlic, mushrooms and half the sage. Bake for a further 30 minutes.

Remove the duck and turn the oven off. Dice the duck finely and put it in a bowl with the chicken mince. Strain the pan juices through a sieve into a bowl and then pour them back into the use baking tray - this will become the sauce. Add the butter, wine and the rest of the sage. Set it aside for later.

Tip the cooked, strained mushrooms, garlic and sage out onto the chopping board and dice up finely. Add this to the chicken and duck and season well. Stir to combine.

To make the pasta, place the flour in a big bowl and make a well in the centre. Drop all the eggs in and then season with salt. Generously flour a clean work surface. Use your hands to mix the flour and eggs together in the bowl. Once roughly combined, tip it out onto the work surface. Knead until it comes together into a ball. Divide into four and knead each quarter until it is smooth and stretchy.

Using a pasta maker, and starting on the thickest setting, put the first pasta dough ball through at least four times or until it resembles a really thick lasagne sheet. You may need to dust it with flour as you do this. When the pasta comes together, switch to the thinner setting. Put the sheet through a couple of times before going to the next thinnest setting. Keep doing this until it you can easily see your hand through it - on my machine, this is the second thinnest setting.

Lay this sheet out somewhere. Repeat the process with the remaining three balls of dough. 
Once you have four long pasta sheets, use a cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Set them aside. Once you have cut as many rounds as possible it is time to start filling them!

Get yourself a glass of water. Make the ravioli by spooning a heaped teaspoon of chicken/duck mixture into the middle of a pasta round. Dip your finger into the water, draw around the rim of the round and place another on top. Seal it up, pressing all the air outwards. Do this until you have run out of pasta or duck.

Grab a large saucepan and fill it no more than 3/4 full with water. Add a pinch of salt and bring it to a rolling boil. Cook the ravioli in batches and remove them as they float to the surface and stay up there. Test the first one to make sure the chicken is cooked and the pasta is cooked to your liking. Adjust the cooking time accordingly. As you remove the ravioli, place them into a big bowl with aluminium foil over the top to keep warm. 

When you're getting towards the last batch, heat up the sauce you prepared earlier. Once it has reduced by a third and is thick and glossy, it's ready! Pour some sauce into each bowl and place 4-5 ravioli on top. Drizzle more of the sauce over them and grate cheese over top.

Place the leftover sauce and ravioli on the table for seconds... or thirds... Enjoy!

Aldi currently stock whole ducks but if you aren't confident in filleting the bird, buy 3-4 duck breasts instead.

Still feeling a little overwhelmed by this big recipe? Don't be. Just follow every step, look at the pictures and give it all some love.