Gnocchi with Duck Sauce


Chef Cody Hogan of Lidia's Kansas City uses Lidia's Lidia's Long-Cook Duck Sugo on comforting Potato Gnocchi.


For the sauce
4 pounds duck legs, (5 or 6 legs)
½ cup dried porcini
6 cups poultry or vegetable stock, or as needed
1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
1 cup celery , cut in 1-inch chunks
4 garlic cloves, peeled
6 fresh sage leaves
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, loosely packed
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary needled, stripped from the stem
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon Coarse sea salt, or kosher salt, or to
1 cup dry white wine
black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
Grana Padano, or Parmigiana-Reggiano freshly grate

For the gnocchi
6 large Idaho or russet potatoes
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon salt
dash of freshly ground white pepper
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups unbleached flour
grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

For the Sauce:

Trim all the excess skin and fat from the duck legs. Heat 2 cups of the hot stock and put it over the dried porcini. Let soak for half an hour or longer. When the mushrooms have softened, drain and squeeze them, reserving all the soaking liquid; chop the porcini into 1/2-inch pieces.

Using the food processor, mince the onion, celery, garlic, and all the fresh herbs for 20 to 30 seconds, to a moist paste, or pestata.

Set the big pan over medium-high heat and film the bottom with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Lay all the duck legs in the pan, skin-side down, sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon salt and sizzle for a couple of minutes until the skin-side is browned. Flip the legs over and continue cooking, adjusting the heat and moving the meat as needed, until nicely browned all over, then remove them to a bowl or platter.

If you want to continue cooking with the duck fat, leave 4 tablespoons of it in the Otherwise, pour it all out and use 4 tablespoons of olive oil instead. Return the saucepan to the heat and scrape in all of the paste from the food processor bowl. Stir it all over the hot pan, scraping up the browned bits, for 2 minutes or so until it is nearly dry and toasting.

Return all the duck legs to the pan and tumble them in the hot pestata. Scatter in the chopped porcini, stir and toss with the legs, and cook for several minutes until everything is sizzling.

Pour in the wine, raise the heat, turn and tumble the duck and seasonings until the wine has almost cooked away. Pour in the porcini soaking liquid (leave any mushroom sediment in the container) and sprinkle another 1/2 teaspoon of salt all over. Heat to a boil, turning the duck legs and stirring to amalgamate all the seasonings in the broth.

Set the cover ajar-leaving a crack for evaporation-and cook at an actively bubbling simmer, turning the duck frequently. Add stock every 20 minutes or whenever needed, so the liquid level is about 2/3 way up the meat. After 1-1/2 hours or so, when the duck is quite tender and loose on the bone, turn off the heat and let the legs cool completely in the covered pan.

Remove the duck legs from the saucepan and pull all the meat off the bones. Discard bones and cartilage; tear the meat into good size shreds. Spoon fat from the sauce and stir in the meat. If the sauce is dense, loosen it to a flowing consistency with more stock; heat to a bubbling simmer and cook for another 15 minutes. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

To make the gnocchi

Boil the potatoes in their skins about 40 minutes, until easily pierced with a skewer. When cool enough to handle, peel and rice the potatoes, and set them aside to cool completely, spreading them loosely to expose as much surface as possible to air.

Bring 6 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of the salt to a boil in a large pot. On a cool, preferably marble work surface, gather the cold potatoes into a mound, forming a well in the center. Stir the remaining 1 tsp. salt and the white pepper into the beaten eggs, and pour the mixture into the well. Work the potatoes and eggs together with both hands, gradually adding 3 cups of the flour and scraping the dough up from the work surface with a knife as often as necessary. (Incorporation of the ingredients should take no longer than 10 minutes--the longer you work it, the more flour it will require and the heavier it will become).

Dust the dough, your hands, and the work surface lightly with flour and cut the dough into six equal parts. (Continue to dust as long as the dough feel sticky.) Using both hands, roll each piece of dough into a rope ½” thick, then slice the ropes at ½” intervals. Indent each dumpling with a thumb, or use the tines of a fork to produce a ribbed effect. (This helps the sauce stick to the gnocchi).

Drop the gnocchi into boiling water a few at a time, stirring gently and continuously with a wooden spoon, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until they float up to the surface.

To dress the gnocchi

To dress 1 pound of gnocchi, put half the sauce in a wide skillet (or the same pan you cooked it in, if you are using it right away); use all the sauce if cooking 2 pounds gnocchi. Have the sauce at a simmer when you drop the pasta into the cooking water. If it is concentrated, moisten it with stock or hot pasta water.

With a spider lift the gnocchi from the pot, briefly drain, and lower them into the sauce. Toss the gnocchi over and over to dress them thoroughly--if the sauce is too thick, loosen it with spoonfuls of pasta cooking water; if the sauce is soupy, cook rapidly, tossing the pasta, until it thickens. Serve with grated cheese for your guests to dress their own plates of pasta.