Duck Ragu

Jul 30, 2012 by Gabriele Corcos

This is something I always ate in the small trattorias around Tuscany while growing up. When my dad, brother and I went for motorcycle rides on the weekends, we would always end the day with a pitstop in one of these tiny eateries and indulge in a hearty bowl of duck ragu. I personally never made it until I moved to the US. I can credit learning how to make it from Chef Gino Angellini when I lived in Los Angeles. He showed me the proper way and I tailored it to my tastes.


Serves: 6 / Prep Time: 45 minutes / Cooking Time: 3 hours

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stock, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 duck legs and thighs
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 (28 ounce can) pelati, blended
  • Finely chopped parsley, for garnish
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for serving
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving


1Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet or Dutch oven.

2Season duck legs with salt and pepper. Sear in the hot pan until golden brown and crisp, about 10-11 minutes. Remove to a plate.

3Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrots, and sauté until soft, another 3 minutes, add the thyme and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute more.

4Add the red wine and use the back of a wooden spoon to scrap up the browned bits from the duck, this will add to the flavor of the finished sauce. Cook for 2 minutes then stir in the tomatoes, salt and pepper, bring to a light simmer. Add the seared duck back to the pan and cover.

5Simmer lightly for 1 hour and 30 mintutes, or until the duck is extremely tender and falling off the bone.

6Remove to a casserole dish to cool. Remove the skin and bones and discard. Chop the meat finely and add back into the tomato sauce, adding a half a cup of water if it looks dry, and simmer, covered for 40 more minutes.

7Serve over fresh pasta, season with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil , chopped parsley. and freshly grated Parmigiano cheese.

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