It’s not as crazy as it sounds. You get one meaty duck leg (or two, perhaps from a whole duck that you want to separate the breasts from for a finer entrée another time), and then you roast it until it’s weak at what was once its knee-joints. Then you add it to some white wine and stock-enriched tomatoey sauce and let it cook until it’s melting to the touch even more.
It’s rare when a dish is both uniquely effortless and divine; this doesn’t happen, for instance, when making a decadent, double dark-chocolate cake. It doesn’t exactly hit the same satisfaction triggers either when you toss together some greens with bacon and cheese. But when you fold all the latter three into some hot pasta, along with silky egg yolks and olive oil, there’s some jingling in the air, and the angels will be smiling down upon your kitchen from above.
Anyone who’s a real purist of pasta is going to take one look at these misshapen dumpling-like things and sneer. Can’t blame me for being a little over-ambitious for a weeknight meal, but you can for exaggeration in calling these “orecchiette.” Well, I’m just not sure what else to call them. But they taste alright — especially when tossed in a buttery, fresh lemon sauce and surrounded by spicy broccoli rabe.