20 Feb 2009

Tonight's Dinner – Duck Panzerotti with Juniper Hazelnut-Butter and Bitter Almonds

Yesterday, a very good friend of mine gave me a few fresh Panzerotti pasta filled with duck. What’s best for tonight’s dinner! I had to cook them.
I decided to use Bitter Almonds and Hazelnut-Butter, I had only to figure out how these things were going to work together.
Time to start cooking! :D
Once put the salted water for the pasta to boil, I started browning a nice chunk of butter over low heat.
In a small saucepan, the butter started melting, the milk solid create an opaque white mass that floats inside the clear yellow liquor. Foam starts forming, the smell becomes warmer and more complex and slowly the whole turns a nice hazelnut color. When the temperature reaches 145deg C the hazelnut butter is ready!

Take it out of the fire and add 2 crushed juniper berries, cover with a lid or a dish and let it rest for 1-2 minutes before discarding the berries.
The water should be boiling by now, time to cook the pasta! In the meantime crush 6 bitter almonds in a mortar till you obtain a coarse white powder, add it to the butter with 1 teaspoon of white wine and whisk well the whole; add few fresh rosemary needles chopped and warm it up over low fire. Don’t forget to keep an eye to the pasta!
Peel half a carrot, grate it and arrange it over the center of the warm plate in a nice uniform layer.
The pasta now must be ready. Drain it with a slotted spoon and put it in a bowl, add some of the butter sauce and toss gently to coat.

Dispose the Panzerotti over the grated carrots, drizzle some of the butter sauce all around them over the white plate and poor the rest on top of the pasta.
To give an extra touch to the dish, sprinkle it with few pistachios coarsely crushed using your fingers.
The dinner wasn’t finished! I am quite of a certain appetite in the evening. ;)
Yesterday I bought some pork belly from the closeby grocery store so I cut two pieces each with a bone and seasoned them with salt and pepper from each side.
When the pan I had over the fire was quite hot, I put the meat on it to sear well its sides. When the meat was well browned, I put in the pan 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary and a few of thyme, close with the lid and let the pork smoke for 2-3 minutes. I then added half a glass of dry white wine and let the whole cook covered for another few minutes till when the wine was almost all evaporated. At this point I put the meat on a plate and kept them warm, discarded the herbs from the pan, deglazed with a bit more of wine and, scratching well its bottom, created the sauce to company the meat.
Put all over a plate, I enjoyed every piece of the juicy meat in the best way possible: using my hands to eat it!! :D

Just as final touch, I had a few spoons of ice-cream. :P

What shall I eat tomorrow??? :D

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