Duck Egg Pasta

I have already shared my stock fresh pasta method on this blog, but for the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about making pasta using duck eggs. It is a simple truth: DUCK EGGS MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER. I have a friend who, when he dines out, literally cannot resist any menu item that includes a duck egg. For once I’m not talking about myself – but I too am enthralled by duck eggs. I love the iron richness of duck egg yolk and the way the yolk is so much more unctuous, so silky and luxurious, compared to the yolk of a hen’s egg. When you add a duck egg to something, the egg is the thing: it’s not just a garnish; it becomes the centrepiece of a dish.

Fresh pasta is best if it’s made with really nice eggs, so it stands to reason that it would be even more delicious made with duck eggs. Although I usually add some semolina flour to my fresh pasta dough to give it heft, this dough is made only using Tipo 00 (finely milled low gluten pasta flour). The resulting pasta is delicate, light, beautifully yellow-orange, and profoundly ducky. Serve this pasta with homemade Bolognese or other meaty sauces, or use it for ravioli or lasagne.

Ingredients:

2 whole duck eggs

3 duck egg yolks

400 grams (about nine ounces) Tipo 00 flour

Method:

[Caveat: I make my pasta by hand. If you have a food processor and/or a pasta attachment to a stand mixer, that’s great – but you’re on your own, as I’ve never used a machine to make pasta.]

Crack your duck eggs into a bowl and add the three yolks, reserving the whites for another use. (I’ve read that duck egg whites are great for baking.) Put your flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the duck eggs into the well and beat them with a fork, gradually pulling in flour from the sides.

Eventually it will become difficult to continue to use your fork. Abandon the fork and use your fingers to pull and mix the rest of the dough. Depending on variables such as the size of your duck eggs, your altitude, and the dryness of the air in your kitchen, you may not be able to work in all the flour. That’s fine. When it’s a nice stiff dough (stiff is important so that your pasta isn’t too fragile to roll thin), turn it out onto a board and knead it by hand until it is silky and smooth (at least five to ten minutes).

Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes. Cut the dough into chunks about the size of a child’s fist (sorry, I can’t think of a better analogy). You can wrap whatever you’re not using immediately and refrigerate it for about a day or two for another recipe. Flour each piece well, flatten it slightly, and pass it through the machine’s widest setting. Fold it in thirds like an envelope and pass it through again. Repeat this a couple more times, then roll the dough to your desired thickness, flouring it liberally to keep it from sticking and pulling.

When your pasta sheets are as thin as you want them, hang them to dry on a pasta rack, or, like me, you can use the back of a chair. If you’re simply cutting your pasta into linguine, dry for about 15-20 minutes or until the pasta has stiffened but not become dry. If you’re making ravioli or lasagne, you can cut it sooner.

Makes about 700 grams (about a pound and a half) of fresh pasta, or about 8 servings.

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21 thoughts on “Duck Egg Pasta

  1. Duck eggs are the absolute best! I love them! They are so rich and flavorful. I never thought to use them in the place of chicken eggs for pasta though. What a wonderful idea! I can just imagine how well it would pair with rich ragus and sauces!

    I also find that duck eggs are a little tough to crack . . . takes me a couple extra taps . . .

    But I do love how you dry your pasta over the back of a chair!

  2. I’m excited by how well this pasta turned out, and I definitely recommend using duck eggs next time you make pasta at home.

    I agree that duck eggs are tough to crack. Not quite as bad as quail eggs, which I have to slice open.

    Some might find my pasta drying method a little gross. I’m glad you like it. 🙂

  3. We can’t get duck eggs, but I add extra yolks to my 00 flour to get what may be the same level of eggy tenderness. Your drying method is intriguing, not gross…I may try it the next time I make some!

  4. We sometimes see duck eggs in the local farmers’ market in Berkeley. What a good idea to use them in pasta. I’m going to try it next time I see them. P.S. My grandmother used to hang pasta over the top of her swinging kitchen door.

    • Thank you Tania, I rather like that photo too. 🙂

      I did love this pasta. I will need to try duck egg ravioli. Perhaps with a duck egg yolk inside?

    • They’re sinfully delicious with other things that pair well with eggs — e.g., asparagus, crab cakes, and I hear they’re great for baking (I’ve never tried, though).

  5. I’m pretty sure I’ve never had duck eggs 😦 But my brother makes some killer pasta… maybe I can convince him to try your recipe!!! Yay for getting your camera back!

  6. wow duck egg pasta, that must be really rich in flavour. I know everyone goes mad for duck egg. I think I have never actually had duck eggs before, they aren’t cheap are they. Or I think I may have had them, but preserved (chinese salted eggs). the photo of the pasta draped over the chair is fabulous! makes me wish for a pasta machine now. I just can’t get them thin enough when I roll it out by hand ):

    • You should invest in a pasta machine — you can find them pretty cheaply and I find I use mine all the time. Making pasta is SATISFYING. I found duck eggs pretty cheap at my favourite butcher at the Portobello Market — he is just west of Westbourne Park Road on Portobello Road. Best roasting chickens in London (I’m not kidding) and he usually has other things at a reasonable price.

  7. What beautiful photos.

    I’m sure you know but if you cut your pasta into noodles right after it has dried a few minutes, you can either hang those strands (on the back of a chair ;p) until completely dry and store in a plastic bag in your pantry for months or (my preferred method), form nests of pasta on a sheet tray, pop the sheet tray in your freezer, once solid pop those nests into a bag and keep frozen until using. They go straight from the freezer into boiling water. When I’m going to the trouble of making pasta, I like to make a lot, and I hate to have dough go to waste in the fridge in case I get busy.

    Not so easy to find duck eggs in the states, but next I see them, I’m going to try this for sure!

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