Pappardelle with Duck Ragu

Resist the urge to cook the pasta until you are finished making the sauce—remember, the sauce always waits for the pasta.
By / Photography By Brooke Allen | March 21, 2016


Cut the pasta dough into pappardelle (see recipe above). Heat oven to 350º. Rinse the duck, both inside and out, then pat dry with paper towels and rub all over with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in a snug-fitting roasting pan or tray and pop in the oven until golden, crisp and cooked through, about 2 hours.

Once cooked, remove the duck to a board and set the tray aside for later.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrot, celery garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove the duck skin and shred the meat off the bones.

Stir in the red wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the pan; this will add to the flavor of the finished sauce. Cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes, some salt and pepper and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the shredded duck back to the pan. Pour a little bit of hot or boiling water into the roasting pan and swirl or stir to release any browned bits or juice. Stir this into the simmering sauce, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour and 30 minutes, until thickened and slightly reduced.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season it generously with kosher salt. Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil, add a big pinch of chili flakes and set it over medium-low heat. Put the pappardelle in the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Use tongs to transfer it from the pot to the sauté pan, and add a big splash of pasta water. Toss the pasta around a little and check the seasoning. Divide the pasta among serving bowls and spoon ragu over each portion (there will be leftover ragu—freeze it for another day!) Garnish with a few shavings of the cheese and a little parsley, and serve.

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For duck ragu:
  • 1 whole duck, thawed if frozen
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for rubbing over duck
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups red wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, blended
To finish:
  • 1 recipe fresh egg pasta dough (recipe on page 17)
  • All-purpose flour for rolling the dough
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch red chili flakes
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
  • A handful of finely chopped parsley, for serving
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