Pasta, Risotto and You

By Nancy Caivano


Risotto with Duck Ragu

Serves 6



1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 (5-to-6 lb) duck, boned, skinned, meat cut into 1-inch pieces, bones reserved
3 medium onions, chopped
1/3 cup pancetta, chopped (you can substitute regular bacon)
1/2 lb chicken livers, trimmed, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 cups chicken stock
Salt and Pepper

3 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups simmering chicken stock
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 tbsp thyme, finely chopped



Prepare the Ragu:
Place mushrooms in a bowl. Add hot water, and let stand until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain and reserve soaking liquid. Coarsely chop mushrooms.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add duck meat and bones. sauté until golden, about 8 minutes. Drain off all but 1 tbsp fat. Add onions and pancetta. sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add chicken livers and porcini and sauté 5 minutes. Add wine and simmer until almost all liquid evaporates, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Mix in tomato paste. Add stock and reserved mushroom soaking liquid, leaving any sediment in bowl. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until meat is tender, about 1 hour.

Discard bones from sauce. Skim any fat from surface. Simmer until very thick, a stew like consistency, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the Risotto:
In a large saucepan, heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shallot. Cook until shallot is translucent. Add rice, stirring constantly, and cook 5 minutes more, making sure rice does not brown. Add wine, stirring constantly, and let totally evaporate. When wine is evaporated, begin adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, letting each addition evaporate before adding the next addition.

After fourth addition of stock is added, begin tasting rice. Rice should be al dente when done. You need to keep tasting rice, because, depending on rice, you may or may not have to use all of the stock. When fourth addition of stock is absorbed, add 2 cups Duck Ragu.

After last addition of stock is absorbed, remove from heat, and stir in butter, Romano, parsley, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Top with more Ragu and serve immediately.

The Duck Ragu can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Bring to a simmer before using.

You can ask the butcher at your supermarket to bone the duck for you, and ask him to also give you the bones.


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This page created January 2000

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