Friday, May 05, 2006

Duck ragu for pasta

Ever since I first sampled Antonio Faccinetti’s version of this dish (back when he owned and cooked at Il Baretto) I have been in love with it. It’s a wonder it’s taken me so long to actually cook it for myself. Despite the proliferation of easy-to-cook duck cuts, like breast fillets, I still think of duck as a special occasion meat. Something that’s not always that straight forward to cook (read: easy to wreck and overcook), takes some time and planning, needs to be served to people who aren’t saturated fat averse, is rich so needs to be matched well with other dishes and wines, and so on. But now that I’ve mastered this particular ragu, I will cook it for ever after because it was so delicious.

To serve six generously (with leftovers) I purchased two fresh size 10 ducks, and the method and ingredients used are a combination of those from former Sydney Morning Herald food critic Matthew Evans, Neil Perry and Stefano de Pieri. This is not a simple straightforward recipe, but falls into the ‘slow cooking’ genre of food. It takes a bit of time and patience to make and put together, but the result is truly worthwhile. Definitely a weekend or holiday type of meal. The traditional accompanying pasta for it is a fresh made pappardelle, but on this occasion I simply ran out of time and energy to make it as I was in the midst of several days of a cooking frenzy. So with apologies to the slow food movement, I used the next best substitute I had available at the time which was a bronzato moulded spaghetti.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 size 10 ducks
2 onions, roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, roughly crushed
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 cup red wine
500 mls chicken stock
Handful of thyme sprigs
10 sage leaves
To serve:
3-4 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
Grated parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a roasting pan big enough to hold the ducks and the vegetables. Brown the ducks on all sides until they are golden. Add the vegetables and garlic and fry them for five minutes until softened. Add the wine, stock and herbs, salt and pepper and cover the pan tightly and roast (breast side up) at 150°C for 2 hours. The ducks should be very tender. Remove them from the pan to cool a little and strain the pan juices. Set them aside and when the fat comes to the top, skim it off.
Tear the meat from the duck carcasses and shred into bite-sized pieces. Reduce the cooking juices to form a thick sauce. Add the duck meat back into the sauce to warm through, and add a tablespoon or so of parsley. Toss through the cooked pasta and top with the parsley, serve with parmesan cheese.

Then we ate it in front of this

With a few bottles of this sangiovese

…… Mmmmmmmm.


Blogger Ange said...

I love duck & love ducj ragu even more which I dont have a recipe for, will save this & make it soon as it sounds heavenly & apart from a bit of time taken not too difficult - thks

10:47 AM  
Blogger Julia said...


10:13 AM  
Blogger Georgia said...

ohhh sounds amazing - I'll have to give it a go. Well done on a fascinating blog -really interesting food!

9:55 AM  
Blogger Reb said...

It was pretty yumm-o. I'm sure you'll be just as happy with the results as I was (and my guests!)

9:47 AM  
Anonymous TT said...

Yummo! I love the Ragu at Il Baretto too...its so good. Now I am in Singapore I really miss my local tratorria, I will try your recipe it looks great.

3:10 PM  

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