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Duck ragu with pappardele pasta in a beige plate.
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Duck Ragu

Duck ragu is a delicious tomato sauce with shredded duck. Think bolognese sauce, but with duck meat! If you love gamey duck flavor, you will love this dish. Duck's legs are simmered long and slow in an aromatic tomato sauce until the meat it fall-of-the bone tender and shreds easily. Serve it with pappardelle pasta and parmesan cheese for an amazing comfort food meal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 373kcal
Author Aleksandra


for the ragu:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 duck legs 1,6 lbs/750g
  • 5 slices prosciutto crudo or pancetta, can be omitted
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 twigs rosemary
  • 3 pieces dried porcini mushrooms optional
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or red wine
  • 2 cups chicken or duck broth
  • 1 jar tomato passata 24.5 fl oz/700 ml, or 2 cans crushed tomatoes (400ml/14 oz)

to serve:

  • pappardelle pasta
  • grated parmesan cheese


  • Prepare the ingredients: finely chop onion, carrot, celery, rosemary, prosciutto, and garlic (I'm using a food processor to chop onion, carrot, and celery, and I chop the rest of the ingredients by hand).
  • Trim excess fat from the duck legs, season them with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium meat. When hot, add the legs and cook them on both sides until browned. Transfer the legs to a plate.
  • Add the prosciutto to the pot, cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring from time to time, until lightly browned.
  • Add chopped onion, carrot, celery, and rosemary. Cook for a couple of minutes until soft. Add the garlic and dried mushrooms. Cook for 30-60 seconds until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the wine, cook for about 2 minutes, or until the wine is almost evaporated.
  • Add the broth and tomato passata (or crushed tomatoes). Stir everything together then add duck legs back to the pot (they should be submerged in the sauce).
  • Simmer the sauce over very low heat, uncovered, for 2 - 2 1/2 hours or until the meat falls off the bones easily. After 1 hour flip the legs over.
  • Transfer the legs to a plate. Remove the meat from the bones, shred the meat using two forks, discard the bones and skin.
  • Add the shredded meat to the pot. Cook briefly until warmed through.
  • Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Serve with cooked al dente pasta and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Enjoy!


  • If you don't cook with wine you can omit it but the sauce may lack some acidity (you could add 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar instead).
  • Duck broth made from roast duck carcass and bones is perfect for this recipe.
  • Instead of pappardelle, you can use penne pasta or potato gnocchi.
  • Store the sauce and pasta separately.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/4 of the recipe), the pasta is not included. This is only an estimate!


Calories: 373kcal