VENE­TIAN DUCK R AGU

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Feeds: 4 Prepa­ra­tion: 20 min­utes Cook­ing: 2 hours

This ragu com­bines clas­sic Ital­ian cook­ing and Mid­dle Eastern spicing. The com­bi­na­tion of duck, red wine, or­ange and cin­na­mon, cooked slowly un­til the duck falls off the bone and the fat clings loosely to the meat, cre­ate a full-bod­ied but gen­tly spiced sauce that slips over pap­pardelle like a dream.

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

2 tbsp olive oil 4 duck legs Sea salt flakes 2 large onions, finely chopped 6 fat gar­lic cloves, finely chopped 500ml red wine 800g fresh vine toma­toes, blended into pas­sata 300ml duck or chicken stock 2 bay leaves De­cent pinch of cin­na­mon Plenty of white and black pep­per Zest of ½ or­ange, plus a squeeze of the juice ¼ tsp cel­ery salt Pap­pardelle and Parme­san, to serve

m ETHOD

1 First, brown the duck legs. Heat a fry­ing pan with a lit­tle glug of olive oil. Duck is very fatty so don’t add much oil at this stage. Sea­son with plenty of salt and sear on both sides un­til they are a nice deep golden colour all over. Re­move the legs from the pan and leave to one side.

2 In a heavy-bot­tomed casse­role, heat the rest of the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 20 min­utes, un­til they are nice and soft. Add the gar­lic and sweat for a cou­ple of min­utes. Next, add the wine and al­low to bub­ble for a few min­utes to cook off some of the al­co­hol, be­fore pour­ing in the blitzed toma­toes and stock. Add the duck legs, fol­lowed by the bay leaves and cin­na­mon, and a good pinch of salt and pep­per. Cover, turn the heat down and sim­mer gen­tly for 1 ½ hours. 3 Once the cook­ing time has passed you will see that the sauce has re­duced and be­come lovely and rich. At this stage re­move the duck legs from the pan. Let them cool for a cou­ple of min­utes, and then use two forks to pull the meat from the bones and shred it a lit­tle. Dis­card the skin as it is only de­li­cious when ren­dered crisp. 4 Re­turn the duck meat to the sauce and add the or­ange zest and juice, the cel­ery salt and pep­per. Cook for a fur­ther 10-15 min­utes. 5 At this point put your pasta on. Pap­pardelle is the only pasta to eat with ragu as its large flat sur­face is per­fect for hold­ing the sauce. When cooked, drain the pasta and re­serve a lit­tle of the cook­ing wa­ter. Com­bine the pasta with the sauce, and add one or two ta­ble­spoons of the cook­ing wa­ter. Di­vide be­tween bowls and serve with grated Parme­san.

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