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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fettucine with Duck Ragu

Don't you love the happy dance your tastebuds do when you've eaten something absolutely fabulous?  That's what happened with this dish.  Major happy dance.  Perfect balance of textures and flavors.  MMMM!!

Sunday evenings are typically reserved for the most time consuming dishes.  That's because I usually quit working about 4:00 and actually have the time to spend several hours cooking.  One of my favorite things to make is pasta.  The difference between homemade pasta and store-bought is just light years apart.  I got an attachment for my KitchenAid mixer several years ago and have used it on a regular basis.  Yes, it was a bit expensive but it's worth every penny to be able to create wonderful pasta.

I'd cut this recipe out of a magazine and put it in the try now envelope.  But, I knew if I was going to make it, it'd need to be on a Sunday,  No wasting duck confit on store-bought pasta!  This week, the recipe finally made it to the menu.  It'll make it to our table at least once a year - if not twice.  And, my friends, anything I'd make twice in a year is REALLY good.  There are just too many new recipes to try to be repeating things.  I know there are a lot of folks who have a list of regular dishes and just rotate them.  But, I'm not one of those folks.  That'd be way boring!!

Well, you already know what I think about this.  So, what did Connie think?  He loved it as much as I did.  In fact, he said this would be a great dish to make for the kids.  I think as long as I don't tell my daughter-in-law it's duck, she'll be fine with it.  And, she's a good sport anyway.  David, he'll absolutely love this.  I did a couple of things differently than the recipe directed.  The original recipe called for four duck confit legs.  For one, they're pretty expensive.  And, we've never even attempted to eat a whole duck confit leg per person.  I used just one and it was plenty of meat.  Two would be fine but more in my opinion would be overkill.  The duck fat is just too good to waste, so half of it was used to saute the vegetables.  The other half replaced part of the butter added at the end.  I took the skin and crisped it in the second half of the duck fat, then served that on top of the dish.  The recipe also called for pappardelle.  One, my pasta attachment doesn't have a pappardelle setting and two, I like fettucine better.  So, there you have it!

Fettucine with Duck Ragu


1 duck confit leg
2 T duck fat
1/4 c minced carrot
1/2 c minced onion
1/4 c minced celery
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 T fresh rosemary leaves
12 kalamata or nicoise olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 dry red wine
2 c chicken stock or broth
2 T duck fat
4 T butter, melted
1/2 c parmesan or romano, finely grated (plus more for serving)
1/2 lb fettucine


Start your pasta water.  Drain the duck fat from the confit.  Shred the confit and set it aside.  Put two tablespoons of the duck fat into a large skillet.  Heat it to sizzling.  Add the onions, celery and carrots. 

Saute on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are softened and start to brown. 

Turn the heat up to high.  Add the olives, rosemary and garlic.  Cook for about one minute until very fragrant. 

Pour in the red wine to deglaze the pan.  Turn the heat back down to medium.  Add the shredded duck confit. 

Add the chicken stock and simmer until the liquid in the pan is reduced to about 3/4 cup.  Depending on whether you're using store bought or homemade pasta, you'll want to toss it in the pasta pot either early on while the chicken stock is simmering or close to the end of the time.  If you'd like to make homemade pasta, here's a link to my recipe:  homemade pasta.  Cook the pasta only to al dente.  Drain it and toss it with the sauce along with the shredded cheese and the butter. 

Season with freshly ground pepper.  Depending on how salty your duck confit is, you may or may not want to add additional salt.  We didn't need to add any - to the pasta, the sauce or as we served it. 
adapted from Food and Wine

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