California Central Coast Recipes

Duck Ragu

This is a very unusual way to make duck. You can make it with duck breasts available from a good butcher, or do what I did when I couldn't find any, de-bone a duck. Whatever type of duck you use, it needs to be coarsely ground by either your butcher or yourself.

It’s worth the trouble! The best part about this recipe, you can make most of your meal in advance, and while the ragu is simmering,you can clean up the “cooking dishes” in the kitchen, change clothes and relax a bit before your company arrives. This can also be made a day in advance with no problem. In fact the flavor intensifies even more! See my Blog Rethinking Duck Ragu. ©2018, Duck Ragu
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
re-calculate ingredients for:


1 Duck , skinned and deboned or
3 duck breasts

1/3 cup Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion
1-1/2 large carrots , minced
2 celery stalks , minced
3 oz Pancetta , cut into one-eighth inch dice
2 Bay leafs
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley plus additional for garnish
1 teaspoons dried thyme
1/3 cup basil , torn
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons freshly cracked pepper
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes , chopped
1/4 teaspoons fennel seeds , crushed in mortar
1-1/2 pounds fresh spinach fettucine

Parmesan cheese , grated

Preparation Directions.

1 Coarsely grind or cut into 1/8 inch pieces the boned duck. In a large saucepan or stockpot with lid, heat two tablespoons olive oil to medium-high heat and brown duck meat until it turns golden-brown. Remove meat, and drain off fat.

2 In same pan, heat three tablespoons olive oil, add onion, carrot, celery, pancetta, bay leaves, parsley, thyme and basil. Cook vegetables and pancetta mixture five minutes or until soft and lightly browned. –If mixture starts to stick, add more olive oil.

3 Return duck meat to pot. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and the cracked pepper. When the meat is warm, deglaze with wine. Cook on medium-high heat until the wine evaporates(about five minutes.)

4 Stir in chopped tomatoes. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for at least 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.

5 Stir in fennel seeds and cook over medium-high heat thirty or more minutes.

6 Meanwhile, bring water in large pasta pot to boiling, add salt, stir and then add fresh fettuccine to water (fresh pasta cooks more quickly than dried pasta—especially when you’re cooking for several people.) Return to boil and cook as directed on package (about 3- 5 minutes.) Drain when al dente.

7 Serve ragu over fresh spinach fettuccine, on warmed dinner plates, sprinkling a little chopped parsley on top for presentation. Optional-Top with Parmesan cheese at the table.

Wine and Food Pairing and Serving Suggestions.

Wine suggestion: This is exceptionally good with a Cabernet.

A tip from Sue!

Make your salt and pepper your "right -hand" aid

An easy tool to have handy at all times in your kitchen is your customized combined salt and pepper shaker. Buy a clear plastic shaker with a handle on it. Make yourself a "customized salt and pepper combo or "house blend." Ours is three parts ground pepper to one part salt. Having one of these handy really cuts the prep time down when doing breading and preliminary cooking!