It doesn’t get better than this – a rich, full-flavoured ragù of duck tossed with ribbons of perfect fresh pasta. The ragù begins by making a quick duck stock to add to the rich tomato sauce as it simmers (leftover stock can be used for soup or risotto). Serve this dish with a simple radicchio salad.
- 1 duck, carcass only (meat reserved for the ragù)
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 2 star anise
- 1 sprig each of rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme
- meat from the duck
- 1 kg tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 handful each of basil and flat-leaf parsley leaves
- a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary
- salt and pepper
- 500 g pasta dough
- grated pecorino to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the stock, first remove the duck meat from the bones. Pull each leg out from the bird and slice through the skin to expose the flesh. Twist the legs up and out and cut through the joint. Cut the legs into thighs and drumsticks and cut the meat from the bones. To remove each breast, cut alongside the breastbone and slowly work your way down and across to cut off the meat. Trim the excess skin and fat from all of the meat. Cut the meat into small bite-sized pieces and set aside for the ragu.
Place the bones in a large saucepan with just enough water to cover. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour, skimming off the fat occasionally.
To make the ragu, put the diced tomato in a colander set over a bowl. Pour over the lemon juice and sprinkle with the sugar, and allow the juices to drain into the bowl for 30 minutes. This will intensify the flavour of the tomatoes.
Heat half the oil and butter in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic until beginning to caramelise. Add the drained tomatoes and herbs. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 1½ hours, adding a little duck stock and drained tomato juice occasionally to keep the sauce runny.
Gently heat the remaining oil and butter in a frying pan and brown the chopped duck. Add to the tomato sauce and simmer for a further 30 minutes, adding more stock and tomato juice as needed. The sauce should be rich and moist.
Meanwhile, finish the pasta. Divide the dough into a few pieces so it is easier to work with. Roll the first piece through a pasta machine on the widest setting. Fold it in half and run it through the machine again. Do this several times until smooth, then start rolling it out at narrower settings until it is around 2 mm thick. Lay the sheet on a floured surface while you roll out the other pieces of dough.
Fold the sheets up a few times (this makes them easier to cut straight) and cut into strips roughly 2 cm wide. Unravel the ribbons of pasta and cut into shorter lengths if needed. Boil in a pot of salted water until al dente, then drain, return to the pot and toss the ragu through the pasta. Serve with grated pecorino.