Venetian duck ragu

Venetian duck ragu

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(73 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


  • 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…

  • 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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Richard Wiggins's picture
Richard Wiggins
26th Apr, 2016
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.
24th Apr, 2016
I've made this recipe four times now exactly as written. It's very easy & so delicious. Love Cassie's recipes.
30th Mar, 2016
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.
24th Mar, 2016
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.
29th Nov, 2015
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
1st Feb, 2015
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.
24th Jan, 2015
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
16th Oct, 2014
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
10th May, 2014
This was easy to make and delicious. Will definitely make again.
Happy feet
10th May, 2014
Easy to cook and delicious. Will definitely make again.


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