This is one of my favorite things to do with duck confit or the easier, slow-roasted duck version of it. This is a sumptuous pasta dish that has its origins in old Venice, where it was done with the Italian version of preserved duck. Despite this, it is an easy dish to make – the only tricky part is getting the garlic browned but not burned.
Traditionally this is served with tagliatelle, a long, flat pasta both wider and thinner than the more familiar linguine. Could you use another shape? You bet. Don’t go too thin or too thick – angel hair or ziti aren’t right for this dish.
Make sure you’ve got everything ready before you start, as this dish comes together fast. Have the water boiling, and give it plenty of salt; you want it to taste of the sea. If you do this right, both the sauce and the pasta will be done at the same time.
- 1 pound tagliatelle
- 1 or 2 slow-roasted duck legs*
- 4 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1-2 tablespoons duck fat
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon zest
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
*To slow roast raw duck legs, first pat them dry. Prick skin all over with needle to help render out fat. Salt all over generously. Place skin side up in a 300°F oven in a casserole dish just small enough to fit them without overlapping. Cook for about 90 minutes or until the skin starts pulling away from the bones and getting crispy. Turn up the heat to 375°F for 15 minutes until duck starts to get light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
1 Pick all the meat off the duck legs and reserve the skin. Tear the meat and skin into smallish pieces.
2 Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the butter and duck fat and the duck meat and skin. Turn the heat down to medium.
3 Put the pasta in the boiling water. Stir it from time to time.
4 Add the garlic to the sauté pan and mix well. Watch the garlic: The moment it begins to brown turn off the heat.
5 Drain the pasta when it is al dente, or use tongs to take it from the boiling water right into the sauté pan. Turn the heat back on to medium. Toss the pasta in the sauté pan, making sure it is all coated well. Add more duck fat if needed. Add some black pepper and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and toss again. Taste and add the second tablespoon of lemon juice if you want.
Serve immediately with the lemon zest sprinkled on top.