Pasta with Slow Roasted Duck
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 pasta
- 1 or 2 slow-roasted duck legs*
- 4 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
- 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 Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta (4 quarts of water, 2 Tbsp salt).
2 While the water is heating, pick all of the meat off the slow-cooked duck legs and reserve the skin. Tear the meat and skin into smallish pieces.
3 Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the butter and duck fat and the duck meat and skin. Lower the heat to medium.
4 Put the pasta in the boiling water. Stir it from time to time.
5 Add the garlic and rosemary (if using) to the sauté pan. Cook for a minute, or until fragrant and just beginning to brown at the edges, then remove from heat.
6 Drain the pasta when it is al dente, or use tongs to take it from the boiling water right into the sauté pan. Return the heat to medium. Toss the pasta in the sauté pan, making sure it is well coated. 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.