Venetian duck ragu

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 30 mins


Serves 6
Cinnamon adds complexity to this slow-cooked pasta sauce, which goes perfectly with large tubular paccheri pasta, or ribbons of pappardelle

Nutrition and extra info

  • sauce only
  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal505
  • fat12g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs62g
  • sugars8g
  • fibre2g
  • protein30g
  • salt0.9g
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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 4 duck leg
  • 2 onion, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 fat garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • 250ml red wine
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chicken stock cube, made up to 250ml
  • 3 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and chopped



    Rosemary's intense, fragrant aroma has traditionally been paired with lamb, chicken and game…

  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp sugar



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • 2 tbsp milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 600g paccheri or pappardelle pasta
  • Parmesan, grated, to serve



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the duck legs and brown on all sides for about 10 mins. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add the onions to the pan and cook for 5 mins until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further 1 min, then stir in the cinnamon and flour and cook for a further min. Return the duck to the pan, add the wine, tomatoes, stock, herbs, sugar and seasoning. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat, cover with a lid and cook for 2 hrs, stirring every now and then.

  2. Carefully lift the duck legs out of the sauce and place on a plate – they will be very tender so try not to lose any of the meat. Pull off and discard the fat, then shred the meat with 2 forks and discard the bones. Add the meat back to the sauce with the milk and simmer, uncovered, for a further 10-15 mins while you cook the pasta.

  3. Cook the pasta following pack instructions, then drain, reserving a cup of the pasta water, and add the pasta to the ragu. Stir to coat all the pasta in the sauce and cook for 1 min more, adding a splash of cooking liquid if it looks dry. Serve with grated Parmesan, if you like.

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Comments (25)

jeyleebean's picture

An absolutely delicious meal. I didn't have any duck on hand but wanted to try this recipe so I used stewing steak instead. I followed the recipe list mostly but did it somewhat differently.

1. Fried the onions first, added the garlic and then followed by cinnamon powder and tipped in the flour and mixed it around so the onion-garlic mix was coated.
2. Tipped in my stewing steak, red wine, 1 can chopped tomatoes, beef stock, herbs, sugar, salt and pepper.
3. Gave it a good stir and let the mixture in pan slowly thicken for about 5-7 mins. Tipped it all in a pyrex dish, covered with foil and into the oven at gas mark 6 for 2 hours. By the time I took it out, the meat was tender (I used 4 large slices of stewing steak which I didn't cut up, went in whole) I then used a fork to break the meat slices up after the 2 hours in the oven.
4. Served with pasta & garlic bread. Feeds 4 people. A real stunner of a meal. Highly recommend

NatCupcake's picture

I absolutely loved this, always make alot and freeze sauce, it is very delicious and lush!

sirlene's picture

I will try with huge turkey legs! :-)

Richard Wiggins's picture

I made this last night for the first time for 2 people, but only halved the sauce as we like a lot. Homemade some pappardelle too and it was absolutely delicious. I'll definitely be making this again and wouldn't hesitate to make for friends when they come over.

aussiechick's picture

I've made this recipe four times now exactly as written. It's very easy & so delicious. Love Cassie's recipes.

paris7th's picture

I have made this several times now using both duck legs and breasts and it's always a hit. If I use duck breasts, I remove the skin and layer of fat before browning. By using the breasts I find it tastes less gamey and it is less fatty.

paris7th's picture

I have made this a couple of times now and it's always a hit. I have tweeked the recipe a bit to try and lower the fat contact by using duck breasts (cut into 3/4 pieces) and removing the layer the skin and fat before browning them. Admittedly I add olive oil to brown the meat but I think it is ultimately lighter and you avoid having to skim the fat off the finished ragu.

reevey's picture

Great meal we scored 8/10, though I found the sauce a bit rich for my taste. I would make it ahead next time so I can skim the fat off the sauce as the duck we can buy here in France is much fattier than the legs I used to buy in the UK and I would brown the duck off in their own fat at the start rather than olive oil as it's not necessary

fionarecipes's picture

This was fantastic! Didn't have duck legs only duck breasts, so rendered the breasts down and saved the fat for potatoes another time. Still worked brilliantly, I used a cinnamon stick a parmesan rind too which really made a difference.

rach1903's picture

Made this tonight.....perfect for a cold Saturday in January ( as you need to cook for 2 hours ) ...absolutely loved it....if empty plates could talk...serve with bread to mop up every last bit of the tasty sauce, lovely

snowmoss's picture

Lovely rich sauce, I used 3 duck legs but kept the sauce as per the recipe and fed family of 4 - we're big eaters, kids loved it! Lovely fragrance in the house from the cinnamon too!

Happy feet's picture

This was easy to make and delicious. Will definitely make again.

Happy feet's picture

Easy to cook and delicious. Will definitely make again.

Jayne Piper's picture

We love this and use two duck legs and split into two meals so it's really good value. Also served to friends for dinner, certainly special enough for that!

evaelise's picture

I made this for my French family who eat duck a lot & they absolutely loved it. I've made it twice now but only added 1 teaspoon of ground cinamon the second time round as my young children found the cinamon a bit overpowering. Great dish for making the day before! Also served it with garlic bread.

margmj's picture

I made this for visiting friends. Recipe said for 6 and I did for 4 - thinking big eaters but had some over after seconds which I froze. Great recipe, full of flavour. I cooked it for longer than said when duck boned and put back making it really thick and tasty. I also did the tip SashaJackson suggested with the skins which added great extra texture to the dish. Excellent meal!

joanneeland's picture

I made this for mother's day at the weekend. Absolutely gorgeous and loved by all. Second helpings all round. I have to admit, I didn't use the cinnamon, instead I chucked in the rind of a parmesan which gave it a lovely deep flavour. I also didn't use any chicken stock and it was still great. Used thyme, rosemary and bay from my garden. Will do again for sure

mrswife's picture

Made this using 2 duck crowns as this worked out cheaper than buying the legs. Had to cut up the crowns to ensure they were all under the liquid. Did not want to leave this on the hob as I was out in afternoon, so left it in a low oven for about 4 hours. Was still a little wet at the end, so after shredding the duck and returning to the pan, I gave it a quick blast on the hob to reduce and it was AMAZING!! So thick and rich and perfect with the big bits of pasta and loads of parmesan.

lornadupre's picture

Excellent! Easy and really impressive.

SashaJackson's picture

This is really delicious, a great change from beef ragu. You need to devote a good chunk of your day to this, but it's worth it. I followed the recipe (also adding a Parmesan rind) but used 6 duck legs, this served 10 with pappardelle pasta. I skimmed off the oil before removing the cooked duck. ** Don't throw away the duck skins though ** (tip from an Italian friend); chop or process them roughly with a clove of garlic, a few handfuls of fresh breadcrumbs and some fresh thyme leaves. Fry this all up at medium heat in a pan (it can take a while, it looks like unappealing mush at first!) until crispy and sprinkle on top of your dished up pasta - amazing...
Additional notes: Have cooked this a few times now and it freezes brilliantly, the 4 legs give 8 nice portions, so I have been freezing half of the recipe. Also successfully made it in a slow cooker: followed step one on the hob and transferred to the slow cooker and cooked for 8 hours on low, removed the legs, shredded the meat and returned to the cooker with a splash of milk for a further hour. You need less liquid for this method, I left out the stock and drained the tinned tomatoes of their juice.


Questions (4)

happycamper24's picture

Could I make this ahead and reheat it?

goodfoodteam's picture

Yes this will freeze for 2 months. Freeze just before you add the milk then carry on from there once thawed.

sylgra's picture

Can this Venetian duck be cooked in a slow oven

goodfoodteam's picture
Hi there, thanks for your question. Yes this recipe would work well in a slow cooker.

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