Duck Ragu with Pappardelle

05 Sep

(serves 3)
This is my abridged method of making Pappardelle with Duck Ragu. I bypass the ardous task of slow-cooking the duck by using shredded meat from duck rillette and substituting beef stock in as the base. Other than a ragu with smaller pieces of meat, its little different from what you’d expect from cooking it the traditional way.  One added benefit of not using a whole duck is that you can make the ragu in smaller manageable amounts.
  1. Duck Rillette (200g)
  2. Mixed Mushrooms (200g)
  3. Onion (0.5)
  4. Pappardelle (250g)
  5. Oxo Beef Cube (1.5)
  6. Red Wine (0.5 cup)
  7. Rosemary
  8. Tarragon
  9. Nutmeg


  1. Add one and a half oxo cubes and 2t of rosemary to one cup of boiling water and set aside so the rosemary can infuse the stock with its flavour.
  2. Dice half an onion into very small pieces. Cut the big mushrooms, if there are any, into slices. I usually use one small and one large variety of mushroom but that’s up to you. Beech, Chanterelle, Morel and Oyster mushrooms are good options.
  3. Fry the onion bits on low heat in a pan with some olive oil. When the onion starts to soften, add the duck rillette. As the rillette softens, break it up with a spatula and then add the mushrooms.
  4. When the mushrooms begin to shrink, pour the oxo stock into the pan through a strainer to filter out the rosemary. Add half a cup of wine, 0.5t of nutmeg and 1t of tarragon, and simmer under low heat. Use a full bodied red wine if you can. When the sauce thickens, turn the heat off. You have your Ragu sauce. 
  5. Boil your pappardelle in a seperate pot of water with some olive oil and a pinch of salt. Decant when the pasta softens. If you can’t get pappardelle, use another flat pasta like fettucine or tagliatelle, or look at my lasagne solution in the notes below.
  6. Add the semi-cooked pasta to the ragu sauce. Gently stir fry on low heat after adding 3T olive oil, until the pasta is al dente. Add a bit of water if the sauce begins to dry up too much.
  7. There should be no need to add salt, sugar or any seasoning, but you can sprinkle on some black pepper before serving if you wish.


The Ragu Sauce is done when it has been reduced like this
  • This is the most simplified version of this recipe. If you want to go the extra mile and get a more distinctive ragu dish, there are three things you can try.  
  • Firstly, you can try using some dried porcini. Use the water you soaked the porcini in to make the stock instead of plain boiling water, but remember that the porcini should be soaked cold.
  • Secondly, you can also substitute Marsala wine for the red wine.
  • Thridly, you can use goose instead of duck rillette.
  • Fresh pappardelle is not easy to come by and I can’t say I have ever seen any dried ones. The way out is to use dried (un-crimped) lasagne. Break them by hand lengthwise into two and you get instant pappardelle. They won’t break evenly, which is even better as this gives a rustic charm to your dish.
  • Ragu and Ragout are both a dish made from gamey meat and chopped vegetables. Ragu is Italian and is usually cooked as a sauce. Ragout is French and is usually a stew.
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 5, 2010 in Italian, Main Courses, Pasta, Poultry, Recipe


Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: