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Ragu Alla Veneziana (Venetian Duck Ragu)

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“In northern Italy, ragus tend to be more about the meat and aromatic herbs that flavor them than about the tomatoes. This recipe comes from the region around Venice, Italy. The ragu can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat gently before tossing with pasta.”
3hrs 5mins

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Heat the oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Season both sides of the duck legs and thighs with salt and pepper and arrange them in the pot, skin side down.
  3. Sear until the skin is browned and crisp (7 minutes). Using tongs, turn the legs over and brown the other sides (2-3 minutes).
  4. Transfer the duck to a deep platter. Pour off all but about 1 tbsp of the rendered fat and discard or save for another use.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium low. Put the celery, garlic, onion, carrot, sage, and bay leaf in the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened (7-8 minutes).
  6. Pour in the wine and increase the heat to high. Cook at a lively simmer for 2 minutes and then reduce the heat to medium.
  7. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice and 1/2 cup of the broth. Return the duck to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium low or low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and simmer until the meat is fork-tender (1 1/2-2 hours).
  9. Remove the duck from the pot and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  10. Skim the excess fat from the top of the sauce with a large spoon. If the sauce seems thin, continue simmering until flavorful and thickened to a saucy consistency.
  11. Discard the duck skin and shred the meat. Add the shredded meat to the sauce, along with the other 1/2 cup of broth.
  12. Let the sauce simmer gently for 15 minutes. Discard the garlic and bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  13. While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta until al dente.
  14. Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water and then drain the pasta. Return the pasta to the pot and toss it with some of the ragu, adding a little cooking water if it seems dry.
  15. Serve the pasta with more ragu spooned over the top, garnished with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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