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Gluten-Free Mediterranean: Duck Ragu Pappardelle

Try this fantastic recipe for Duck Ragu with Pappardelle shared with Active Retirees by Helen Tzouganatos from her cookbook Gluten-Free Mediterranean.

As much as I love tomatoes in a rich, red ragu, sometimes I feel like something less bold and acidic, so I’ll braise my meat in a delicate white wine sauce. Duck ragu may sound intimidating or too luxurious but it really is very simple to prepare. The gamey duck in this Venetian ragu is perfumed with piney rosemary, thyme, nutmeg and sweet cinnamon for a well-rounded flavour. Like all slow-cooked pasta sauces, the flavours intensify overnight, so it is even better the next day.



4 duck marylands
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon roughly chopped rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of grated nutmeg
250 ml (1 cup) dry white wine
500 ml (2 cups) Chicken Stock (page 206)
400 g gluten-free pappardelle
finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, to serve
finely grated pecorino, to serve (optional)


Season the duck with salt and pepper and place in a heavy-based saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and cook for 8 minutes to slowly render the fat, turning halfway through. Remove the duck from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion, carrot, celery and a pinch of salt to the fat remaining in the pan, reduce the heat to low and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes to soften. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon and nutmeg and cook for another 30 seconds.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine, stirring to release any caramelised bits caught on the base, and simmer for 2–3 minutes until reduced by half. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Return the duck and the resting juices to the pan, cover and gently simmer for 1 hour. Remove the lid and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and the duck is tender.

When the sauce is almost ready, cook the pasta according to the packet directions until al dente.

Remove the duck from the pan, shred the meat off the bone and return the shredded meat to the pan. Using tongs, directly transfer the pasta to the ragu, dragging along some of the starchy pasta water. Gently toss to combine (and add more pasta water if required to loosen the sauce). Scatter with parsley and pecorino (if using) and serve.

Gluten-Free Mediterranean by Helen Tzouganatos, published by Plum, RRP $44.99, photography by Jeremy Simons.