Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Fresh Pappardelle with Duck Ragu

You know those mothers who enjoy cooking with their children? They're calm and patient, encouraging and supportive in the kitchen. I'm not one of those. I'm the kind who invites the kids into the kitchen with all the best intentions and within 5 minutes, is grinding her teeth as she watches flour getting sprinkled on the floor, milk being spilled, egg shells landing in cake batter, ingredients being measured without precision... To put it mildly, I'm no fun in the kitchen. But I've decided if I'm ever going to teach my chicks to fly, I'd better lose my Gordon Ramsay attitude and chill. So, with my new-found mojo, my thirteen year old son Linus made this utterly delicious dish (with a little help from his mama). He was very patient with me.

Fresh Pappardelle with Duck Ragu 

inspired by Gourmet Traveller
Serves 4

For the Ragu:
Two duck marylands, bones removed and meat and skin chopped into small dice
70g pistachios
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Olive oil
3 rashers streaky bacon, cut into small batons
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
250ml red wine
250ml chicken stock
50ml sherry vinegar
2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes
A spring of rosemary, finely chopped
Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

For the Pappardelle:
2 cups "00" flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Make the Ragu:
Put the pistachios and fennel seeds into a spice grinder and grind until you have a fine meal. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, put the carrots, onion, celery and garlic and blitz until they are finely chopped.

Heat about 1 tablespoon on olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until golden. Add the carrots, onion, celery and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Season. Add the duck meat and cook until the skin is golden-brown. Add the pistachio mixture and stir to combine. Add the wine and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Let it cook down a little and then add the tomatoes. Add about half the stock and bring to the simmer. Simmer for 2 - 2 1/2 hours. Add more of the chicken stock if the ragu gets too thick.

Make the Pappardelle:
Put the flour into the bowl of a food processor and blitz briefly to aerate.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the oil. Whisk them together.

With the food processor running, add the egg mixture down the funnel and mix just until the dough comes together. Add a little water if the dough is too dry, add a little extra flour if it is too sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly until smooth. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Cut the dough into four equal portions and, using a pasta machine, roll the dough out into long thin sheets, one portion at a time. Fold the dough into a manageable size, and cut into 2cm wide noddles. Unfold the pasta and hang the noodles up, or lay them on a flour lined tray until you are ready to cook them.

Cook the Pappardelle:
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pappardelle and cook until tender. This should only take a few minutes. Drain, reserving about a cup of the cooking water.

Assemble the Dish:
Tumble the cooked pappardelle into a large serving bowl. Pour the ragu over the pasta. Sprinkle with chopped rosemary and finely grated Parmesan. Toss together to coat all the pasta with the ragu. Use a little of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce if needed. Serve with extra Parmesan at the table.


  1. Hahaha! I have no doubt I'll be the exact same way as you when the time comes (the non-zen version). In fact, it's just how my mom is whenever I'm home and try to help her! Some things never change. I'm so impressed with your son for making this gorgeous pasta! Both of you need to teach me your ways. Thanks for this lovely post.

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment. He did do a great job. Patience isn't one of my virtues, but I make up for it in cookies.

  2. What a good mama! And I'm right there with ya! I really have no words for this stunning dish. Oh my gah.. Handmade pasta, and duck ragu!! Hell, yes! I need to get my hands on some duck!!

    1. Haha. Thanks Maria. We've definitely got to get you some duck. In the meantime, you can sub ground pork for the duck and it will still be a great dish.

  3. Awww! Mum and kid's cooking :) I'm sure your boy really appreciate it. It's a really nice meal that you both prepared :)

    1. My boys really do love good food, so I think it's best they learn how to make it. You never know, one day they might just cook me dinner... See how my mind works?