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Duck, Marsala and chestnut ragu

Serves: 6
timePrep time: 30 mins
timeTotal time:
Duck, Marsala and chestnut ragu
Recipe photograph by Maja Smend

Duck, Marsala and chestnut ragu

Duck fat adds a real richness and depth to this slow-cooked ragu, sweetened with a splash of Marsala wine and earthy chestnuts. A perfect low-maintenance dinner party dish; serve with a wild rocket salad scattered with toasted pine nuts

Serves: 6
timePrep time: 30 mins
timeTotal time:

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Nutritional information (per serving)


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 duck legs
  • 1 x 160g pack smoked pancetta cubetti
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml Marsala dolce
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 x 180g pack cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 500g Taste the Difference dried pappardelle
  • 40g Parmesan, grated

Step by step

Get ahead
The ragu keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days, or can be frozen in portions. Add a little water when reheating.
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large casserole and fry the duck legs for 5 minutes, or until browned all over. Remove and set aside. Add the smoked pancetta and fry for 2-3 minutes before adding the onion, celery and carrot. Cook on a gentle heat for 6-8 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
  2. Add the flour and cook out for 2-3 minutes before adding the duck legs back to the pan. Add the chopped tomatoes, Marsala, stock and rosemary and bring to the boil then reduce to a very slow simmer, cover and simmer for around 1 hour 30 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove the duck legs from the pan and place on a chopping board. Return the pan to the hob and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, or until reduced to a thick sauce.
  4. Discard the skin from the duck legs, then shred the meat using 2 forks. Return this meat to the pan, adding the chestnuts. Season to taste.
  5. To serve, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for around 10-12 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and return the pasta to the pan. Stir through around half of the ragu, then divide the dressed pappardelle between warmed plates and ladle the rest of the ragu on top. Scatter with Parmesan to finish.

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