I was itching to slow cook a ragu tonight, and I eventually decided on something that seemed relatively healthier….duck ragu over homemade pappardelle. Usually this is made with just duck legs and thighs, but we could only get a whole duck, so that’s what I used. I love my large Le Creuset dutch oven, something just feels right about braising in it.
1 whole duck in parts, skinned with fat removed
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot (or several baby carrots), diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
2 cloves garlic
1.5 cups red wine
Handful of dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to season
grated parmigiano or pecorino
Brown the duck parts in a tablespoon or two of olive oil and then remove to a separate plate. I take out some of the extra fat in the pan and use new olive oil, but it’s probably really tasty to just use the duck fat to cook the veggies. Throw in the onion, carrot, celery and garlic, and cook for a few minutes until they have softened. A little salt and pepper to season them.
Deglaze the pan with a cup of the red wine, then put in the mushrooms and stock with the veggies and return the duck to the pan. Let it simmer on low heat for an hour. Remove the duck and let it cool so that you can remove the meat from the bones and shred it. Return the shredded duck to the sauce and add another half cup of red wine. Let it reduce down for about 30 minutes, until it has thickened.
Put as much of the ragu as you want to use in a separate pan where you will combine with the cooked pasta. Put the pasta in lots of salted, boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes until it’s aggressively floating and almost ready to eat. Drain and put into the ragu along with a half cup of pasta water and let it cook together for the last couple minutes. Off the heat, add a little more (1 tablespoon) olive oil. Remove to plates and sprinkle with some grated parmegiano or pecorino.
While the duck is simmering, you can make the pasta dough. I don’t have a pasta machine yet, so I roll it out by hand….I don’t recommend it unless you have a lot of patience. But it’s definitely worth making fresh pasta.
Basic Pasta Dough
1.5 cups flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
1 tablespoon olive oil
Put flour in a mound with a hole in the middle. Add eggs and olive oil to center of well, and slowly incorporate using a fork and going around the edges in circles. Use your hands to start pushing everything together and knead the dough until it comes together in a ball and is slightly sticky. Knead for a couple minutes until it starts to give some resistance. Cover in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to a day or two.
For my all-by-hand method, flour a board and rolling pin and roll the dough out in sections until very thin, maybe 1/8″. For pappardelle, cut into 1/2-1″ wide strips. Put onto floured cookie sheet until you’re ready to use. Alternatively, you could use a pasta machine.
And the best thing about duck ragu with pappardelle? Leftovers the next day are even better…..yum!