Duck ragu with bucatini

Duck ragu with bucatini

Ben's Meat Bible
Benito Martin

I first came across a recipe like this in Verona, while travelling in Italy. I have replicated it several times, both at Monte’s in London and also at Billykart Kitchen, for our Veneto monthly menu.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 2.5kg duck
2 celery stalks
2 medium carrots
1 tomato, roughly chopped
1 red onion
1/2 bunch thyme
1/2 bunch sage
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
800g tinned tomatoes, drained
freshly ground black pepper
500g bucatini or similar pasta
100g unsalted butter
1/2 nutmeg
100g finely grated parmesan


  1. Using butcher’s twine, wrap and tie the duck in muslin or a clean tea towel. Place it in a large saucepan, cover with water and set over medium heat. Roughly chop 1 celery stalk and 1 carrot and add them to the saucepan with the fresh tomato, ½ onion, herbs and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 hours, keeping the duck submerged using a small plate or bowl, until the duck is very tender. Top up with water if it looks a little dry.
  2. Once cooked, remove the bird from the stock and allow to cool sufficiently to handle.
  3. Strain the stock, discarding the vegetables and herbs and reserving the liquid in the same pan.
  4. Finely chop the garlic and the remaining celery, carrot and onion. Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan and sauté the vegetables over a low heat for about 10 minutes, until very soft. Stir in the drained tinned tomatoes and continue to cook gently, uncovered, until the tomatoes break down and thicken to a rich sauce.
  5. Meanwhile, unwrap the duck and remove as much meat as you possibly can. Discard the skin and bones. Shred the meat and add it to the sauce, then continue to cook over low heat for 15 minutes to marry the flavours. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Bring the stock to the boil and add the pasta. Cook for 8–10 minutes, or according to the packet instructions. As the pasta cooks, add the butter to the sauce and grate in the nutmeg. Using a pair of tongs, lift the cooked pasta from the stock and add it to the sauce. Combine well and check for seasoning. Divide the pasta between bowls and scatter with the parmesan.
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