Pappardelle with duck ragù

Daffy would be proud.

When you render the fat on duck breasts, you end up with liquid gold and I highly recommend you use this fat to make the sauce. Use the remainder to cook potatoes or eggs, but don’t throw it away!

Duck fat is not as saturated as other animal fat and it is not that bad for you actually. Some claim that duck fat is similar to olive oil in terms of health benefit, but that is probably not true. Its properties more realistically lie somewhere between that of butter and olive oil.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.


1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 duck breasts
100 g lean ground pork
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 to 2 cups chicken broth
5 sprigs thyme, leaves only, chopped
3 sprigs marjoram, leaves only, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
450 g pappardelle
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, to taste


1. Start by rendering the fat on the duck breasts: score the fat on the duck breasts with a sharp knife, making a diamond pattern every inch or so. Place the breasts, fat side down, in a cold skillet then turn the heat on to medium-low. Remove the fat every minute or so and keep it aside. This process should take only four or five minutes. Remove the meat from the skillet and set aside.
2. Take 3 tablespoons of the rendered duck fat and, over medium heat, cook the onion, celery and carrot until soft, about 7 minutes.
3. During that time, remove some of the skin over the breasts but not all of it and grind the meat in a meat grinder. Alternatively, you can cut it up in very small pieces.
4. Once the vegetables are soft, add the duck and the pork meat to your pot, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring once in a while, until the meat has lost its raw appearance, a few minutes.
5. Add the wine and let it reduce by half.
6. Dilute the tomato paste in one cup of chicken broth and add it to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 30 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add more chicken broth.
7. After 30 minutes of cooking, add the herbs, cream and adjust seasonings. Cook for a few more minutes.
8. Cook the pappardelle according to the package instructions and stir with the sauce over medium heat. Add cheese and stir some more. You may not have to use all the sauce. You can keep it in the refrigerator for about 5 days or you can freeze the rest.

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