Pasta

Venetian Duck Ragu with Pappardelle

A rich Venetian duck ragu made with cinnamon, orange, white wine and tossed with pappardelle pasta. This beautiful pasta dish has a festive feel to it but can be eaten all year round. It’s super comforting, easy to prepare and sure to impress!

An overhead shot of a bowl of duck ragu with pappardelle pasta

This duck ragu is something I make when I want something extra special, it just feels so luxurious and festive yet it’s super easy to prepare. A lot of Venetian recipes contain cinnamon and orange making them really stand out from what you would usually associate Italian food with.

Annnd although it has warming spices they are sooo subtle, it really doesn’t taste sweet. It just gives a tiny hint of something special and out of the norm, something truly delicious!

This duck ragu is traditionally served with pappardelle pasta, it’s silky, rich and completely moreish. Like curl up on the couch with a big bowl of the stuff or serve it on a platter at a dinner party, it literally fits any occasion. You could also make it into lasagne (so delicious), Imagine dishing a big bubbling duck ragu lasagne up on a Sunday afternoon, oh yeah!

What Does Duck Taste Like?

Duck has a strong but not overpowering and slightly ‘gamey’ taste to it and it’s also slightly sweet. It’s a dark meat although not like beef, it’s more like the dark meat you would find on a chicken or turkey. It’s utterly delicious and can be made into so many different dishes, this ragu being my favourite.

How To Make Duck Ragu – Step By Step

Season the duck with salt and pepper then rub it all over with cinnamon. Sear it skin down first in a large pan with a little olive oil on a medium to low heat for 7-8 minutes on each side until browned, set aside on a plate (photo 1).

Add finely chopped carrot, onion and celery, orange zest, bay leaf and 1/2 tsp cinnamon with a touch more olive oil and saute slowly for 10 minutes, stirring often until the vegetables are soft (photo 2).

Add the duck back to the pan and add the wine, reduce the wine by half then add the orange juice, pureed tomatoes (passata), tomato paste and stock stir to combine all the ingredients and simmer slowly for 2 hours turning the duck round halfway through (photos 2 – 6).

Step by step photos for making Venetian duck ragu

The sauce should be thick and rich. Turn the sauce off the heat and remove the duck legs, let it cool on a chopping board for 10 minutes then shred the meat off the bone using a fork. Roughly chop it then add it back to the sauce, the ragu is ready at this point so heat the ragu up while your pasta is cooking (photos 7-9).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pappardelle according to packet instructions. Remove the pasta with large tongs or a spaghetti spoon (if draining reserve some pasta water to add to the sauce in case it has reduced too much) and add to the ragu. Toss to coat and serve in bowls with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

What Pasta To Serve Your Ragu With

Pappardelle is my favourite and recommended pasta shape for serving with this ragu but you could also use tagliatelle, pici or rigatoni which will also work well. You can use store-bought or follow my recipe to make homemade pasta here.

Or you could serve the ragu on top of creamy polenta or even make it into lasagne, follow my assembly instruction in this lasagne recipe but replace the beef ragu with this duck ragu. When making the bechamel sauce I recommend only using a little parmesan because other cheeses would be too overpowering.

A close up of pappardelle pasta with duck ragu

Tips For Making Duck Ragu

  • Make sure to sear the meat in the pan first. This helps seal in moisture, keeping the meat juicy and also adds flavor to the sauce. You also want to crisp up the skin as best you can ready for simmering in the sauce.
  • Take your time when sauteing the vegetables, this is where a lot of flavors develop so do not rush it and don’t be tempted to turn up the heat.
  • Make sure to let the duck rest when you remove it from the sauce before shredding, if you cut into it too quickly the meat will toughen up.
  • If you don’t like cinnamon you can omit it but it really enhances the flavor of the duck.
  • Make sure to season the duck well with salt and pepper before cooking and also taste the ragu at the end to make sure it has enough seasoning, add more salt if required.
  • Use good quality chicken stock (homemade if possible), if you don’t have this use vegetable. Please be aware that store-bought stocks can be heavily salted so always taste the ragu before adding salt in at the end.
  • Use a high-quality pasta brand, this is one of my favourite and widely available or follow my recipe for homemade pasta.

More Ragu Recipes You Might Like:

If you’ve tried this Venetian Duck Ragu or any other recipe on the blog please let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to

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5 from 5 votes

Venetian Duck Ragu with Pappardelle Pasta

A rich Venetian duck ragu made with cinnamon, orange, white wine and tossed with pappardelle pasta. This beautiful pasta dish has a festive feel to it but can be eaten all year round. It's super comforting, easy to prepare and sure to impress!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Duck Pasta Recipe, Duck Ragu, Venetian Duck Ragu
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 524kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

  • 2 large duck legs
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery finely chopped
  • 1/2 orange zest
  • 1/2 juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup (150g) passata (pureed tomatoes)
  • 1 heaped tbsp tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup (150ml) white wine
  • 5 cups (1.2 litres) chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 14 oz (400g) pappardelle pasta
  • parmesan , for serving

Instructions

  • Season the duck with salt and pepper then rub it all over with 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Sear it skin down first in a large pan with a little olive oil on a medium to low heat for 7-8 minutes on each side until browned, set aside on a plate.
  • Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the same pan, add the chopped carrot, onion and celery, orange zest, bay leaf and 1/2 tsp cinnamon and saute slowly for 10 minutes, stirring often until the vegetables are soft.
  • Add the duck back to the pan and add the wine, reduce the wine by half then add the orange juice, pureed tomatoes (passata), tomato paste and stock stir to combine all the ingredients and simmer slowly uncovered for 2 hours turning the duck around halfway through. If the sauce reduces too much add more stock or water.
  • Turn the sauce off the heat and remove the duck legs, let it cool on a chopping board for 10 minutes then shred the meat off the bone using a fork. Roughly chop it then add it back to the sauce, the ragu is ready at this point so heat the ragu up while your pasta is cooking.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pappardelle according to packet instructions. Remove the pasta with large tongs or a spaghetti spoon (if draining reserve some pasta water to add to the sauce in case it has reduced too much) and add to the ragu. Toss to coat and serve in bowls with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Notes

  • Make sure to sear the meat in the pan first. This helps seal in moisture, keeping the meat juicy and also adds flavor to the sauce. You also want to crisp up the skin as best you can ready for simmering in the sauce.
  • Take your time when sauteing the vegetables, this is where a lot of flavors develop so do not rush it and don't be tempted to turn up the heat.
  • Make sure to let the duck rest when you remove it from the sauce before shredding, if you cut into it too quickly the meat will toughen up.
  • If you don't like cinnamon you can omit it but it really enhances the flavor of the duck.
  • Make sure to season the duck well with salt and pepper before cooking and also taste the ragu at the end to make sure it has enough seasoning, add more salt if required.
  • Use good quality chicken stock (homemade if possible), if you don't have this use vegetable. Please be aware that store-bought stocks can be heavily salted so always taste the ragu before adding salt in at the end.
  • Use a high-quality pasta brand, this is one of my favourite and widely available or follow my recipe for homemade pasta.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Venetian Duck Ragu with Pappardelle Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 524 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 34%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 168mg 56%
Sodium 235mg 10%
Potassium 918mg 26%
Total Carbohydrates 83g 28%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 8g
Protein 41g 82%
Vitamin A 59.7%
Vitamin C 20.4%
Calcium 9%
Iron 30.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Helpful Info For All Recipes 
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan oven
  • Read more about how the nutritional information is calculated here
Did you try this recipe?Mention @insidetherustickitchen or tag #insidetherustickitchen! We'd love you see what you're getting up to in the kitchen!
Venetian Duck Ragu. A rich Venetian duck ragu made with cinnamon, orange, white wine and tossed with pappardelle pasta. This beautiful pasta dish has a festive feel to it but can be eaten all year round. It's super comforting, easy to prepare and sure to impress! | Italian Recipes | #Insidetherustickitchen #ragu #Italianragu

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Lisa | Garlic & Zest
    December 10, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    This is an absolutely stunning ragu. I’ve made duck for rillettes, but never like this. What a treat — what type of wine would you serve with this?

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      December 12, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      HI Lisa, thanks so much! I always have a glass of red with this ragu, Valpolicella Ripasso is my favourite with it or a good Chianti. Hope you get a chance to give it a go!

  • Reply
    Veena Azmanov
    December 10, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Duck ? Never tried it before and this dish looks delicious . I love orange as a flavor and so definitely try out this dish for sure.

  • Reply
    Claudia Lamascolo
    December 10, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    wow I have never had duck before and that sauce looks fabulous I bet its amazing as it looks and sounds from your recipe.

  • Reply
    Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table
    December 10, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    What a great, simple recipe to offer to guests during the festive season! We are planning on roasting duck this week, do you think this could work with roasted duck leftovers?

  • Reply
    Demeter
    December 10, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    Wow, this sounds so flavorful! Such a en elegant dish for when company is over.

  • Reply
    Valentina
    December 8, 2018 at 7:10 am

    Oooh, I’m loving this flavor combination! The touch of orange and cinnamon put it over the top. And funny as it my sound, Pappardelle is my favorite pasta shape. There’s just something wonderful about those wider noodles. 🙂

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