For four Every once in a while, I will come across a sauce that is so successful and so tasty I tend to make it at every opportunity. This one started when my Venetian butcher began displaying duck legs at a very reasonable price and I felt compelled to buy a few without much of an idea what to do with them. It turned out duck ragù is locally traditional and, after a few tweaks, this recipe produced a most effective sauce. As with many Venetian meat dishes, the addition of cinnamon gives it a distinctive regional accent. Extra virgin olive oil
4 duck legs
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 large celery stalk, finely chopped 1 clove of garlic, crushed
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
A glass of red wine
A 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
A small handful of picked thyme leaves 250ml chicken stock
100g Parmesan, grated 1. Take a large, lidded, ovenproof saucepan. Heat a good glug of olive oil over a medium heat and fry the duck legs, turning frequently, until brown on all sides, about 10mins. Remove from the pan and set aside. 2. Add another glug of olive oil to the pan and preheat the oven to 150˚C/ gas 2. Sauté the onions, carrot and celery for around 10mins, until soft and glossy. Add the garlic and stir for a further minute. Return the duck legs to the pan, add a good pinch or two of salt, a few twists of black pepper, the cinnamon and a handful of flour and stir.
3. Pour in the wine, allow to bubble for a few minutes, then add the passata, the tomatoes, the bay leaf and the thyme. Pour in the stock and turn the heat up a little. When the liquid boils, turn off the heat, cover the pan with the lid, and place in the oven.
Leave for 120mins, stirring just once, halfway through.
4. Remove the pan from the oven, locate the duck legs and carefully lift them out. Discard the fat and bones, shred the meat with a knife and fork, and put the flesh back into the pan. Add a splash of milk and put on a low to medium heat to simmer gently. 5. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the rigatoni according to the packet’s instructions. When done, reserve a cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta. Add to the duck sauce, stir to coat completely, loosening with a little of the reserved pasta water if it seems too dry.
6. Finally, stir in the Parmesan and serve.