Recipe: Duck Ragu

Rain, rain rain does not inspire one to eat salads and light healthy food. Coupled with the fact that the husband is always happy to have comfort food I decided tonight's dinner would be pasta based. Whilst browsing Twitter this morning I came across Stylist's adaptation of Gwyneth Paltrow's Duck  Ragu, perfect Friday night tea! It was adapted from a recipe given to her by Jamie Oliver and I've adapted it here, mainly in terms of cooking time. Ragus are traditionally made with heavy, rich meat braised for many hours. I'm sure it would have been even more delicious and tender had it cooked for hours but sadly I just didn't get to it early enough. So here is my version for a quick fix ragu:

Serves 4-6 people depending on how hungry you are:

2 packs of 250g fresh Pappardelle
2 duck legs
A few tablespoons of olive oil
1 pack of unsmoked lardons
2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary
1 onion
2 stalks of celery
2 medium carrots
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
half a tin of water
a large glug of red wine

Preheat the oven at 180 (electric fan assisted), place the duck legs in a tray, rub all over with salt.
Place in the oven and cook for about and hour and a half.

Meanwhile, finely chop the carrots, celery and the onion. Heat some oil in a pan then throw in the lardons, cook for a few minutes before adding the vegetables and the chopped rosemary. Let those cook for about 15 minutes until they are all nice and soft, don't forget to stir a couple of times and add a little more oil if you think it needs is. Then add the tomatoes, half fill the tin with water swirl it around and chuck it in. Turn down the heat and let it all cook gently for about an hour. I warn you the smell is amazing, you'll be very tempted to dip your spoon in.

In the meantime the duck legs should be done, so let them cool enough to handle. Strip away the meat and shred using your hands, there's no other way, get stuck in. Discard the bones and skin (or leave the skin for your husband if he's anything like mine, can't resist crispy skin). Then stir into the tomato sauce. Season well and cook for another 15 minutes. Cook the Pappardelle according to the instructions on the packet.

Once cooked place pasta in a bowl, cover with the duck ragu and serve immediately with lashings of grated parmesan. Delicious. And as it's Friday night a large glass of a full bodied red will compliment the dish perfectly! Enjoy!