Impressive, complex layers of flavour in this Venetian Duck Ragù with Bigoli.
Venetian cuisine and that of the Veneto region have many well known gems, including polenta, gnocchi with lots of meat, game and of course regional cheeses such as Taleggio, Asiago and Piave.
This dish draws on Bigoli (also known as bucatini and similar to Tuscany’s pici). Bigoli is a large pasta like thick spaghetti with a whole in the middle (when dry). It was once made with buckwheat flour and duck eggs but nowadays whole wheat tends to replace the buckwheat. It makes a sturdy base for this delicious ragù!
The ragù recipe uses duck legs in the sauce. I happened to have a duck in my freezer so I made this Crispy Roast Duck and used the breast and leg meat shredded from that. I put the meat in during the last hour of simmering.
And then I turned that Crisy Duck into this delicious dish!
Wine Pairing For Duck Ragù With Bigoli
This traditional Venetian dish deserves the best the Veneto region has to offer. In the red category an Amarone would be ideal to match the weight and richness of the dish. Next best would be a Ripasso Superiore or Ripasso Classico.
White aficionados should look for a rich Soave.
Venetian Duck Ragu With Bigoli
- 4 large duck legs
- 1 carrot finely chopped
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk finely chopped
- 1 orange zest and juice
- 1 tsp cinnamon divided 1/2 + 1/2
- 1 cup passata or pureed tomatoes
- 5 1/2 oz tomato paste
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 Tbsps olive oil
- 16 oz Bigoli pasta
- 4 oz fresh Parmesan or Grana Padano for serving
- Salt, pepper duck legs. Rub 1/2 tsp cinnamon over duck legs. Sear duck legs in 1 Tbsp olive oil in the pan over medium heat until browned. (about 7 minutes per side). Remove legs from the pan.
- Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to the roaster and add carrot, onion and celery, orange zest, bay leaf and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Cook over medium high heat about 10 minutes till vegetables are soft. You may choose to transfer the mixture now to a Dutch oven. Don't forget to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom.
- Add the duck legs back to the pan. Add the wine and cook until wine is reduce to half. Add the orange juice, passata, paste, and stock. Stir to combine and simmer slowly about 2 hours, uncovered, until sauce reaches desired thickness. Turn duck legs over half way through cooking time.
- Remove duck legs from the pan. Remove skin and shred the meat. Return the shredded meat to the pan.
- During last half hour of cooking the ragu start to bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook Bigoli according to manufacturer's instructions. (Time it so the pasta is done after you are satisfied with the sauce consistency.)
- Drain pasta and divide among 6 bowls. Top generously with ragu and grate fresh parmesan or Grana Padano over the ragu.