Pappardelle with duck ragù

Pappardelle con ragù di anatra.

Discover this dish from Pappardelle, the classic fresh egg pasta of the region. This is often served with a rich, slow-cooked sauce – often made from wild duck, hare or boar, reflecting the Tuscan passion for game.

Photo and recipe by Mario Matassa


PREPARATION 20 minutes

COOKING 2 hours

• 1 onion, peeled, finely chopped

• 2 celery stalks, finely chopped

• 2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped

• 2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped

• olive oil

• 400g lean duck meat (breast or leg)

• a sprig of thyme

• a bay leaf

• 100ml red wine

• 500ml tomato passata

• 450g pappardelle

• salt and freshly ground black pepper

• grated Parmesan or aged pecorino, to serve


1 Place the onion, celery and carrots in a large heavy-based saucepan with 2-3 tbsp olive oil and the garlic. Fry gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened.

2 While the vegetables are cooking, use a half-moon chopping knife to finely chop the duck meat. Alternatively, if you find it easier, you could mince the duck meat.

3 Add the meat to the pan along with the thyme and bay leaf, then turn up the heat. Allow the meat to brown slightly, then add the red wine. Reduce the wine by half, then add the passata and 100ml water. Season with salt and pepper and allow the ragù to simmer for at least 1-1½ hours. Stir occasionally, and if the sauce appears to be drying out add a little extra water.

4 Take the ragù off the heat, then bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add the pappardelle. Cook according to the packet instructions until al dente. Drain and dress with the ragù. Serve with Parmesan or aged pecorino. (Grana Padano might be a little too mild for this dish)

TIP To add an extra special touch you could always make your own fresh egg pasta. To save time on the day, make the pasta the night before and leave it out on a tray overnight in a cool place with a tea towel over it.