With the shift to shorter days and longer nights, our diets go from lighter fare to heartier meals that stick to our ribs. I was inspired to make a Duck Ragù Sauce with fresh pasta that would make any Italian grandmother proud. With these recipes you can create a lovely, soul-satisfying dish for fall, or anytime of the year when a comfort dish is required.
Duck is an interesting bird. It has a wonderful rich character that, when fully extracted, leaves a meatier flavor profile than its fowl cousins. This recipe uses as much of the whole bird as possible to layer in the flavors of the duck, creating a rich, succulent duck ragù sauce that will warm you up on a cold autumn night.
Ragù, or Italian meat sauce, has similarities to a classic Bolognese, with a higher meat to vegetable ratio, making it more like a meat stew than a tomato sauce. To increase the umami, Asian ingredients are added, giving the finished sauce a scrumptiousness that satisfies the soul and stomach. Several variations to this sauce recipe are included below. This Italian style meat sauce is best if made a day or two in advance, allowing the flavors to meld together and integrate. Try using this Duck Ragù Sauce on pasta with a thicker texture and size, as in Italy the pasta is the main ingredient, not the sauce. A tagliatelle, pappardelle, orecchiette, penne rigate, Barley Cavatelli | Gnudi and | or gnocchi will all work great with this recipe. This Duck Ragù Sauce can also be layered into a lasagna, with noodles, grated provolone, mozzarella cheese and ricotta, to creating a very elegant Duck Lasagna version.
As duck isn’t as a popular meat to find in most grocery stores, finding duck meat might be more difficult, if you aren’t friends with a hunter. One of my favorite companies to get duck from is Sonoma Poultry | Liberty Duck. Located just outside Petaluma, CA, they offer all things duck. All the ingredients in this recipe are sourced from them. Duck hearts, duck gizzards, duck bones | feet | necks (great for stocks), duck legs, duck breasts, duck skin (duck chicharrones anyone) and duck fat (for frying, sauteing and pastry – Duck Fat Strudel Dough). They are now shipping duck. Take a look at their site!
Serves: enough ragù for 6 – 8 dinner guests.