Pappardelle al Sugo di Anatra Selvatica – Pasta with Wild Duck Sauce


Not long ago I managed to find wild ducks, and as soon as I saw it I immediately thought about making this very tasty recipe 🙂

There are various types of wild ducks, but almost all of them I think are fine to make this recipe: mallard, gadwall, Eurasian teal, Eurasian wigeon, northern pintail, garganey, common pochard, tufted duck, etc. (according to the local hunting rules of course).

In this case I bought the duck already cleaned and ready to be used, but in the case you buy it freshly hunted from a hunter of course you have to follow all the necessary steps before being able to cook it (hang, plucking, gutting, etc).

It takes a while to prepare it but it’s really a good dish. And it’s interesting the chocolate touch, which is not so uncommon in various traditional Italian recipes where game meat is involved.


INGREDIENTS (2 people):

For the Pappardelle:

  • 200 g flour
  • 2 eggs

For the sauce:

  • 1 wild duck, about 500 g cleaned
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery rib
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 spoon of duck fat (but you can use just extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • some juniper berries
  • 2 cloves
  • white wine vinegar (for the marinade)
  • 1 glass of red wine (but you could use also a cognac)
  • vegetable stock, some ladles
  • 1 tablespoon of triple tomato concentrate
  • 1 piece of dark chocolate (or a small spoon of cacao)
  • freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt


  1. First of all put the duck in a simple marinade of water and white wine vinegar (one small glass about): cut the duck into 4-6 pieces, then place it in a bowl with the marinade, and be sure it covers the meat. Place the bowl in the fridge for 2 hours, covered with a plastic wrap.
  2. After this time throw away the marinade and wash the meat under running water.
  3. Take a pan and heat a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil and the duck fat, and when it’s hot add the vegetables cut into small pieces. Let it simmer 10-15 minutes until they are soft.
  4. Then set the heat a bit higher and add the pieces of wild duck, brown it on both sides.
  5. When it’s well browned add the red wine and let it simmer at high heat until reduced.
  6. Add the rosemary, the bay leaf, the cloves, the juniper berries and a couple of ladles of vegetable stock (prepare it in advance, for example while you are waiting for the marinade to be ready), set the heat lower and cover the pan. From this moment we have to cook it covered for at least one hour and half or better 2 hours, turning the meat every about 30 minutes and adding stock when it’s needed.wild_duck_pasta_2
  7. During this slow cooking time you can prepare the Pappardelle, follow for example the steps explained in THIS previous recipe.
  8. When you see that you can remove easily the meat from the bones the duck it’s ready: take out the meat and let it cool down few minutes, then remove the rosemary, the bay leaf, the cloves and the juniper berries and reduce the sauce into a cream using an immersion blender. While blending this sauce add the tomato concentrate, the salt and the ground black pepper.
  9. Then put the blended sauce back to the pot, then remove carefully all the meat from the bones of the wild duck, cut it into smaller pieces and add it back to the sauce and let it cook for other 15 minutes. And now add also the piece of dark chocolate.wild_duck_pasta_3
  10. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper if needed: the duck it’s quite a sweetish meat, so I added more ground black pepper than my usual and I added already at this step also 2-3 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Do it until you match the perfect balance for your taste.
  11. When the sauce it’s ready boil the pappardelle in salted boiling water, in few minutes they will be ready.
  12. Drain the pasta and put it in the pan with the sauce. Mix it well together, add some more grated Parmigiano Reggiano, mix again.wild_duck_pasta
  13. Serve it, add some more grated Parmigiano Reggiano and enjoy it 🙂 possibly with a good red wine 🙂

PS: I bought a wild duck already cleaned and unfortunately there were no offal (liver, heart, gizzard), but if you have it you can use them too, add them in the last 30 minutes.




4 Comments Add yours

  1. This looks mouth-watering! I wonder if domestic duck wouldn’t be too fatty? Unfortunately I’m not acquainted with any duck hunters…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can do a good ragù also with domestic duck, as I did here for example:

      But the wild duck I used had no fat at all, so it is quite different.
      Thank you for reading 🙂


  2. Che meraviglia!!! Adoro questa ricetta!!

    Liked by 1 person

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