Duck Ragu

This is something I always ate in the small trattorias around Tuscany while growing up. When my dad, brother and I went for motorcycle rides on the weekends, we would always end the day with a pitstop in one of these tiny eateries and indulge in a hearty bowl of duck ragu. I personally never made it until I moved to the US. I can credit learning how to make it from Gino Angellini here in Los Angeles. He showed me the proper way and I tailored it to my tastes.


Prep Time: 45 mins/ Cook Time: 3 hours/ Serves: 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stock, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
5 duck legs and thighs
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cup red wine
1 (28 ounce can) pelati, blended
Finely chopped parsley, for garnish
Extra virgin olive oil, for serving
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet or Dutch oven.


Season duck legs with salt and pepper. Sear in the hot pan until golden brown and crisp, about 10-11 minutes. Remove to a plate.


Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrots, and sauté until soft, another 3 minutes, add the thyme and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute more.


Add the red wine and use the back of a wooden spoon to scrap up the browned bits from the duck, this will add to the flavor of the finished sauce. Cook for 2 minutes then stir in the tomatoes, salt and pepper, bring to a light simmer. Add the seared duck back to the pan and cover.


Simmer lightly for 1 hour and 30 mintutes, or until the duck is extremely tender and falling off the bone.


Remove to a casserole dish to cool. Remove the skin and bones and discard. Chop the meat finely and add back into the tomato sauce, adding a half a cup of water if it looks dry, and simmer, covered for 40 more minutes.


Serve over fresh pasta, season with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil , chopped parsley. and freshly grated Parmigiano cheese.