Make Perfect Pillows of Pasta Filled with Snow Goose
What was I thinking? I paused for a moment and asked myself this question out loud. Now that I was home, I had a garage floor covered with five dozen snow geese all waiting for careful attention.
When the snows are coming in properly, the shooting can be non-stop. After all, the goal of a goose hunt is to take some geese. Why not knock down the limit? But a multiple-day limit of snows is a lot of geese. I suggest taking some pride in processing and packaging all that delicious protein. Here’s how to get some more delicious return on all that effort.
Once the obvious choices for goose preparation have been tested, prepared and enjoyed by the family, I looked at the stacks of frozen snow goose breasts in the freezer and asked myself what else we could do with them that would be satisfying. What is another way to extend the joy of hunting geese?
The answer: Ravioli! That would be good!
We could make our own pasta with eggs, pasta Royale, the most luxurious version of homemade pasta. If we used duck eggs, it would kick it up another notch. We did just that. What follows are the directions to make your own Pasta Royale and how to prepare snow goose breasts for filling ravioli. Choose a sauce for your ravioli. The recipe below includes both a sauce and a simple pesto for serving the pasta.
This process is a bit fussy. You have to do the work. Making pasta feels a bit intimidating, but the reward is 48 or more ravioli that can be frozen to be used at a moment’s notice at some point in the future. Think of it as a gift to your future self. It is worth the effort!
Tools and equipment
- Stainless bowls
- Food processor fitted with a cutting blade
- Cutting board
- Chef’s knife
- Paring knife
- Fine wire whisk
- Wooden spoon
- Gram scale
- Cast iron skillet (Lodge is my preference.)
- Cheese grater
- Micro plane
- Rolling pin or pasta roller
- Mortar and pestle
- 4-inch bristle paint brush reserved for food service use (or a pastry brush) Note: this one stays dry.
- BBQ or pastry brush that can be wet
Pasta for 48+ ravioli
- 7 large duck eggs (or 9 chicken eggs)
- 400 grams Tipo 00 pasta flour, plus some for additional kneading and rolling
- 75 grams of yellow corn flour (not corn starch or cornmeal)
- 4 tablespoons (60 ml) water
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
Note: When I made this particular recipe, I added an additional 130 grams of flour to get to a soft non-sticky ball of dough that was ready to roll. It is nearly impossible to nail the recipe amounts perfectly due to the variable size of eggs and the moisture content of flour. Just come to the process ready to add some more flour. This recipe will get you to the sticky-ball stage and will require a bit more flour when kneading to achieve the final dough.
Goose Meat Filling for Ravioli
- 1 pound (or 4) goose breasts
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and sliced finely
- 3 shallots peeled and sliced finely
- 1 cup of finely chopped herbs (I used parsley, celery leaves, thyme and chives. Feel free to use your favorites)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon each coarse salt and coarse pepper
Creamy Tomato Cheese Sauce
- 1 cup of prepared (canned) tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 30 grams (1 ounce) parmesan cheese, finely shredded
- 1 ounce of white vermouth
Fresh Herb Pesto
- A handful of basil leaves, finely chopped
- Half a handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
- A teaspoon of fine lemon zest (this is where the micro plane shines)
- Half (or more) of a peeled garlic clove, finely grated
- 30 ml olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Make the Pasta
Weigh pasta flour and corn flour into a large mixing bowl.
Add eggs, water and oil and mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together in a softball.
Turn the pasta dough onto a floured counter and gently knead it until it is smooth and semi-firm.
Wrap the dough with cling film and let it rest for an hour while you make the meat filling.
Make the Meat Filling
- Rinse goose breasts in cold water and dry them with paper towels.
- Cut goose into cubes and season well with salt and pepper.
- Peel shallots and slice.
- Peel, smash and chop garlic cloves.
- Separate stems from the leaves of parsley, thyme and celery, and finely chop them along with the chives.
- Heat the oil in the skillet over high heat, add the shallots and garlic.
- Cook herbs for a minute then add the goose breast chunks and continue to cook on high heat.
- When the goose is well browned, add the herbs, stir well into the goose and add a splash of vermouth.
- Leave the heat on high and as soon as the vermouth is nearly evaporated, remove the heat and let it cool.
Make the Pesto
- Finely dice the herbs and add to the bowl of the mortar, along with 1/2 clove of garlic and the lemon zest.
- Add coarse salt and pepper. Smush this around with the pestle. Drizzle olive oil into the mix to make a smooth sauce that’s the texture of salad dressing.
- Set this aside for garnish when serving the pasta.
Make the Tomato Sauce
- Heat tomato sauce, cream and vermouth in a saucepan over high heat to thicken (reduce) the sauce.
- When the sauce coats the back of a spoon, take the pan off the heat and add the shredded parmesan.
- Stir to incorporate.
- This will be the sauce for the cooked ravioli.
Roll out Pasta and Assemble Ravioli
- Take a quarter of the pasta dough and roll it out on a floured work surface. The goal is to have a rectangle of dough that is ⅛-inch thick. Once dough is rolled out, brush excess flour from the surface of the dough. (This will help the two layers of pasta to seal around the filling.)
- Place tablespoon-sized balls of meat filling at 2-inch intervals over one-half of the dough.
- Using a brush that can be wet, moisten the space between each ball of filling to help the dough seal.
- Fold the unfilled half of the dough over the filled half.
- This might take a bit of stretching and pulling to make it all line up.
- Once the filled dough is fully covered, press down around each mound of filling to seal and cut the ravioli. (See photograph.)
- Separate the ravioli and press each edge to ensure the ravioli are well-sealed.
Now, you can either proceed to cook the ravioli in salted water or you freeze the ravioli for later use.
(I lay the ravioli on a parchment-covered aluminum pan and freeze them overnight. Once frozen, I seal packages in portions that suit our family and mark them as gifts to my future self. Frozen ravioli take about 10 minutes to cook in boiling water.)
Cook and Serve the Ravioli
Whether you cook the ravioli fresh or cook them after freezing, the tomato sauce and pesto are perfect accompaniments.
Snow Goose sometimes gets a bad rap. This recipe and treatment should elevate both its reputation and yours.