Spicy Duck Meatballs with Mint Cavatelli & Quail Egg

Harold Dietre


For the mint cavatelli

  • 1/2 Cup  flour
  • 1 Tablespoon  ricotta cheese
  • egg
  • 1 Tablespoon  chopped mint
  • 1 Teaspoon  salt

For the meatballs

  • 3 Teaspoons  olive oil
  • very small onion, very finely chopped
  • cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1/4 Pound  ground duck
  • 2 Teaspoons  coarsely chopped basil
  • 1 Tablespoon  Asian chile sauce, such as Sriracha or sambal
  • 2 Tablespoons  panko
  • 1/2  egg, lightly beaten
  •   Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • shallots, sliced crosswise
  • plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup  white wine
  • 2 Cups  duck stock, or chicken stock if you don't have any
  • sprigs thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon  chopped mint
  • 1 Tablespoon  butter
  • 1 Tablespoon  grated Parmesan cheese
  • quail egg

Harold Dieterle’s restaurants are known just as much for their delicious and unique meals as they are for his Top Chef acclaim. Plated over mint cavatelli, these tasty little bites are exciting and comforting all at once —– the perfect combination to remind you that it’s just another Thursday night


For the mint cavatelli

Mix all of the ingredients together in a small mixer. Allow the dough to rest 20 minutes. Roll out using a cavatelli maker/board. Cook the cavatelli in salted boiling water for 1 minute, remove, and allow to cool.

For the meatballs

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and 1 clove of the garlic. Cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes; remove from the heat and let cool in the refrigerator. Place the ground duck in a bowl, add the cooled onion and garlic mixture, plus the basil, chile sauce, egg yolk, and panko and mix well. Form the meat into 1 ½-  to 2- inch balls. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and precook in the oven for 10 minutes. The meatballs will not be fully cooked through at this point. 

Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining garlic, 1 shallot, and plum tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the liquid is reduced by 1/2, about 4 minutes. Add the duck stock and thyme and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and set over another large saucepan, discarding the solids. Place the meatballs in the liquid and simmer over medium heat, until cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the meatballs, cavatelli, mint, cooking liquid, and butter; let cook for 2 minutes.

To plate, place 5 meatballs, some broth, and cavatelli in a shallow bowl. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and a raw quail egg.

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