A Sunday roast dinner is a magnificent thing. It’s the pinnacle of the culinary week for many, and certainly a meal to take your time over – not just in the eating, but in the cooking too. I love to buy a tasty cut of meat; usually more than we actually need because, well, leftovers are all-important. Not only do you want – nay, need – the security blanket of knowing that you can have seconds (or thirds) if you goddamn want, but the fridge would look sad and bare without at least a few chunks of cold juicy protein sitting in it.
The satisfaction of cooking a tasty meal for the family is equaled, or bettered, when it consists of ‘leftovers’, or unwanted scrag-ends from the veg bin whose next step along its life path would have been the green bin. It’s been saved! Rescued from the brink of a dejected end to fulfill its purpose of providing sustenance and pleasure. Ahhh…everyone’s a winner.
Inspiration struck a few weeks ago, or maybe it was serendipidy…anyhow; Delia had just that very morning been singing the praises of Gressingham duck to me when, what happened to be on special offer in my local purveyor of all things grocery? That’s right, calves liver…nooo, of course it was Gressingham duck. Plumptious, scrumptious Gressingham duck.
I roasted it high and fast, as instructed, and served it with the obligatory cherry confit and assorted roast veg and sautéed kale. It was, as Delia assured, quite delicious. In fact, since I began writing this post I’ve cooked another, this time with citrus and Asian flavours; to quote Mary Poppins – quite satisfactory.
My husband and I are both very much of the ‘leg-loving’ persuasion when it comes to poultry – I just luuurve the juicy succulence of the dark meat and can’t understand why people opt for the expensive breasts so often. That’s fine, of course; each to their own and all that. But sadly, because we both share such excellent taste it means the breast meat is usually the Little Jack Horner of the piece. Anything I do with it must, therefore, be swift and sure, as I don’t want to dry it out. A healthy stir-fry is a good option, but I really wanted to make use of the sweet roasted veg too. This recipe (or idea really) fitted the bill. Why not try it this weekend?
I could have named this recipe Roast Dinner Ravioli (or Easy Peasy Ravioli, for that matter), as it’s a good way to use up leftovers from any roast dinner. I’ve obviously opted for duck here, but you can adapt it for whatever meat and veg you have. I usually turn to Jamie Oliver when making homemade pasta and this time is no different. Below is his recipe and method from the Jamie’s Italy book – and the quantity is enough to serve two.
I should also add that, should you not wish to make pasta, a good and easier alternative is to use wanton wrappers. These come frozen in blocks and would be ideal for the zesty Asian version I’ve just cooked. Just defrost them and assemble as below, but steam them rather than simmer in water.
- Cold cooked roast duck – meat pulled from the bones and thoroughly shredded or chopped.
- Cold cooked roasted vegetables. I used carrots and kale, but any root veg would be good for sweetness
- Gravy, any amount you have leftover
- 2-3 spring onions, finely sliced
- 300g Tipo ‘00’ flour
- 3 eggs, or 6 egg yolks, beaten
Assembly and finishing ingredients:
- Egg and dash of water, beaten to form an ‘egg wash’
- Spring onion, cut into thin strips
- Chilli oil, or other flavoured oil, to drizzle before serving
Begin by making the pasta then assemble the filling while the dough is resting.
For the pasta, I do as Jamie does and combine and knead the pasta dough by hand (because I’m an obedient padawan), but I understand that you can also use a food processor. It’s nice to feel involved though.
Add the flour to a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the beaten eggs/egg yolks into said centre, then gradually bring the flour into the eggs with a fork, until combined as much as possible.
Next flour your hands then knead on a flat board or work surface until you have a silky and elastic dough. Wrap it in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for about half an hour before you want to use it.
While it’s resting combine all the ‘filling’ ingredients in a large bowl, give it a good stir then check for seasoning and set aside. As you will have noticed, I’ve conveniently avoided any reference to quantities. Just use whatever amount you have.
When you’re ready to roll the pasta, cut the dough in half so that it’s easier to manage. (Pasta rolling machines are quite reasonably priced and easy to buy – I use the Imperia model.) Roll out, as per the instructions, gradually reducing the space between the rollers so that the pasta becomes thinner and thinner. Add a little flour if the dough starts to stick to the rollers.
When you have your lengths of thin pasta dough, simply lay them out on a lightly floured surface. Cut into lengths of approximately 40-50cm (it helps if two of the lengths are longer than the other two, as these will go on top and over the mound of filling) – you should have enough for four of these.
Spoon a tablespoon, or so, of the filling at equal distances along the middle of one of the sheets, leaving at least 5cm at the end. Space the filling approximately 10cm apart along the length of the sheet. You need to leave plenty of space so that the top layer of pasta has enough room to fit snuggly around the mound of filling.
Next, brush the egg wash onto the pasta around the edge of the filling – this is the glue that will seal the ravioli.
Now place the longer length of pasta on top and carefully seal the layers of pasta together around the domes of filling, making sure that you don’t trap any air in the process. Don’t get disheartened if it’s not neat and tidy – you will see from the photos that mine were far from perfect, but the finished dish still turned out well (and it’s the taste that counts).
Next, simply cut the ravioli into squares using a sharp knife, which further helps to seal the edges. Now you’re ready to go!
They only take a few minutes to cook in boiling water. I used a wide shallow pan of boiling salted water and cooked them in two batches. They’re ready when they float to the surface.
Top with the spring onions and a drizzle of chilli oil (if using) and insert into mouth!
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