Venetian duck ragu

Venetian duck ragu

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(41 ratings)

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 legs
  • 2 onions, finely chopped



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

  • 2 fat garlic cloves, 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 leaves
  • 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, questions and tips

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Daniel Evans-Southall's picture
Daniel Evans-So...
14th Jul, 2018
Ignore the bad reviews, this recipe is delicious. A great dish for entertaining as the sauce can be prepared during the day and reheated and added to the pasta when required. Irrespective of its name and it's origins, this is one of my favorites and have made it many times.
5th Jun, 2018
Please, please, please! Stop this horror! Never mix chiken and duck, NEVER! And the origins of Pasta with duck ragù are not venetians!so don't caal this horror "venetian". Venice is on the water and the typical pasta is with seafood! Of course! Too difficult to understand?
12th May, 2018
Made exactly as instructed this smells great in the pot and tastes delicious. My son who has previously refused to eat duck ate this with gusto, "just needed to find the right recipe Mum!" This one did the trick.
16th Dec, 2017
I was really looking forward to doing this recipe. Alas, we thought it was a great disappointment. The sauce was like soup and didn’t really have a great depth of flavour in spite of the duck being simmered in it for almost 3 hours. I will not be doing it again.
10th Dec, 2017
This is properly yummy. It is worth the effort. We halved the recipe and it make two adult and two child portions. Served with pappardelle.
26th Jan, 2017
It's simple and easy to make but tastes very special.
21st Jan, 2017
I love this recipe and so do all my friends and family who I have cooked this for. My daughter cooks it now more than I do. I always use duck legs and to make this dish even more indulgent, when I remove the skin, I bake it in the oven until it is dark brown and crispy and then place in a food bag and smash it with a mallet into fine crumbs and sprinkle this in at the end. I was taught by Mother never to throw any food away unless it was off!
27th Dec, 2016
Absolutely delicious. We initially thought it smelt and tasted too much like cinnamon but once the dish was cooked, it was absolutely perfect.
1st Nov, 2016
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
22nd Aug, 2016
I absolutely loved this, always make alot and freeze sauce, it is very delicious and lush!


7th May, 2017
Hi there, which type of pan is most appropriate to cook this in - a sauce pan with a lid or a deep frying pan, also with a lid?
goodfoodteam's picture
9th May, 2017
Thanks for your question. We'd suggest a saucepan or a heavy-based pan with lid, although you may be able to fit it into a deep frying pan if that's all you have available.
16th Dec, 2015
Could I make this ahead and reheat it?
goodfoodteam's picture
18th Dec, 2015
Yes this will freeze for 2 months. Freeze just before you add the milk then carry on from there once thawed.
8th Oct, 2014
Can this Venetian duck be cooked in a slow oven
goodfoodteam's picture
28th Oct, 2014
Hi there, thanks for your question. Yes this recipe would work well in a slow cooker.
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