Duck leg ragu tagliatelle

Duck leg ragu tagliatelle

Welcome to autumn folks! Some people might be sad that the warm summer days are now behind us, but I can’t wait for the next couple months of warm blankets, cosy nights and comfort food favourites! Which brings me onto this delightful lil’ dish I have for you today. Now, personally I think duck has a bit of a bad rep. It’s often seen as expensive, fatty and a pain in the butt to cook – but hang on a sec and I’ll prove you wrong. When it’s done right you end up with a rich, moist deep-flavoured meat, topped with some salty, crispy skin and then whatever you put with it you’re gonna end up with something that screams decadence and class. As I’m not cooking as much as I used to I’m trying to make the most of my time in the kitchen by pushing myself both with my skills and my flavour experimentations. For example, I tend not to use alcohol in my cooking (apart from the odd liqueur in desserts) so I’ve never tried using red wine in sauces and the like. Yet I tried it in this dish to bring a little French classicism and it brings a depth to the sauce I’ve never been able to replicate before! (I guess there’s something to be said for the classics!)

Duck can also have a bad reputation because it’s traditionally very expensive. I heard of the idea of making duck bolognese years ago, but I couldn’t understand why you’d want to shred such a beautiful, expensive meat and cloak it in a bolognese sauce!? But then I realised that duck legs are what you need. They’re so much cheaper than duck breast and are perfect for shredding and pairing with a rich sauce. So in short, abandon your preconceptions, this is definitely worth a try – and because of the flavour you get from duck I think this would be particularly good for a special occasion like an anniversary, birthday or dinner party!


Serves 2-3

Time: 2 hours


  • 2 Duck legs
  • 1 Small white onion
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1/2 stick of Celery
  • 2 tbsp Tomato puree
  • 1 tsp Dried oregano
  • 1 Handful of fresh thyme
  • 250ml Red wine
  • 400g Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large pinch of Paprika (optional)
  • 120g Tagliatelle pasta
  • 50g Parmesan
  • A handful of fresh parsley


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Season the duck legs with salt and pepper, then rub them with a little oil and place them in a roasting tin. Roast them in the oven for around 40 minutes until the skin is crispy and the flesh is cooked through.
  2. Take the legs out of the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes. Then use two forks to pick the meat off the bone. Set this to one side, separating the flesh and skin.
  3. Place a large pan over a medium heat and add a little of the duck fat that will have collected in the tin you cooked the duck in. Peel, halve and finely chop the onion and garlic and add these to the pan. Fry for 2-3 minutes until starting to caramelise. Then dice the celery and add it to the pan with the tomato puree. Fry whilst stirring for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the oregano, thyme and wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Once the sauce has reduced by half add the tomatoes, paprika and duck meat. Then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and leave to bubble for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta. Add the pasta and cook to packet instructions (around 10 minutes is standard) until al dente.
  6. Drain the pasta and add it to the ragu. Mix everything together and then get ready to serve.
  7. Divide the pasta between 2 serving bowls and top with a little grated parmesan, chopped parsley and the remaining crispy duck skin. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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