This dish was inspired by a pasta we had during our latest trip to Italy at Locanda delle Grazie: fresh pasta with duck ragù. The pasta is dressed with the duck cooking juices and tender morsels of duck meat. It is a very simple dish with only a few ingredients, but a lot of flavor. Here is my version.
For 2 servings
2 duck legs, about 350 grams (.8 lbs)
1 celery stalk
1 sprig fresh rosemary
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Score the skin of the duck. Put the duck legs in a small casserole with the skin side down over medium heat so the fat can render from the skin.
When the fat has rendered, turn the duck so the other side can brown too.
Take the duck out of the pan and set it aside on a plate. There will be some nice browned bits in the pan that will provide flavor for the sauce.
Mince a carrot, a stick of celery, a small onion, and the needles of a sprig of fresh rosemary, and add this to the fat with the duck fat. Season with salt. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are golden, about a 5 minutes.
Add 250 ml (1 cup) of water and bring to a boil.
Turn off the heat. Add the duck legs to the pan, together with any juices that will have leaked from them. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Put the pan in the oven at 125C/260F until the meat is tender, about 2 hours.
When the duck is tender, take the legs out of the pan.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
Sieve the liquid into a frying pan.
Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce it over medium heat.
Meanwhile, take the duck meat off the bones and chop the meat. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
When the water for the pasta boils, add salt and fresh tagliatelle.
While the pasta is cooking, add the duck meat to the juices.
Stir for a couple of minutes until the duck has warmed through and is covered with the juices.
Drain the tagliatelle, reserving a bit of the cooking water, and add them to the duck sauce.
Toss to mix, adding a bit of pasta cooking water if it looks a bit dry.
Serve on warm plates, sprinkled with freshly grated parmigiano if you like.
This is nice with either a full-bodied round white, or a lighter red such as a Bardolino.
Rabbit can be difficult to cook, because it dries out easily. Sous-vide is a great solution for this, and with a fresh fig sauce you will have a dish fit for a king.