Autumn Lasagna with Duck Ragu

Autumn Lasagna with Duck Ragu and Roasted Carrots

October 11, 2009 · 30 comments

This is the meal you make for the special people in your lives. The hours you spend rolling out the pasta dough, braising the duck and peeling the tomatoes is worth every single second, because it’s your way of giving something back to the people who give to you.

It’s been almost one year since Alejandro and I jumped in the car and left our family and friends in New York. I remember driving through Tennessee, looking out at endless rows of trees with brightly changing leaves, wondering what our new life would be like. Who would we invite over for dinner? Where would we go for Thanksgiving? Who would I call for Sunday brunch? During those two weeks, as we zipped through the contrasting landscapes of America, I felt homeless. I felt free. I felt…

duck ragu

Fast forward to the fateful day we met Claudia Hanson in front of Bakesale Betty’s in Oakland. Alejandro and I, with our little terrier named Ema, were sitting on Telegraph Avenue enjoying Betty’s famous chicken sandwich. Claudia walked by with her dog, Rocket, and after a five minute chat we realized that Rocket is Ema’s puppy, who Claudia and her husband adopted the same time we adopted Ema. Months later, not only do we have company for Sunday brunch, but I also have a lifelong friend.

Claudia’s family quickly became part of our everyday lives, from her mother Wally helping us find our new home, to her sister-in-law Jeanine who taught me to cook rice in a bamboo basket. Claudia, her husband Peter, and the rest of their kin, accepted us into their family when ours is 4000 miles away. And for that, I made them Autumn Lasagna, with braised duck ragu and homemade pasta.

uncooked lasagna

Autumn Lasagna with Duck Ragu and Roasted Carrots

5 pound duck, quartered
3 1/2 pounds early girl dry-farmed tomatoes, peeled and crushed. Reserve the tomato juice in a separate bowl.
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
4 carrots, finely chopped
Another 4 carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 cups dry white wine
1/2 tube double concentrate tomato paste
1 bunch fresh marjoram, chopped
2 cups freshly grated pecorino pepato
3 eggs (see below for fresh pasta recipe)
1 1/2 cups flour
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea Salt
Freshly ground pepper

raw tomatoes
Heat up a large cast iron dutch oven. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add 1/2 cup of water and cook until water evaporates, about 7 minutes. Add the finely chopped carrots, garlic and celery, and cook until soft, 10 minutes.

Turn the heat to medium-high, and add the duck pieces to the pot. Push the vegetables to the sides. Brown the duck on all sides. Add the wine, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pot. Cook until the wine evaporates, about 15 minutes. Lower heat to low.

browning duck

Add the crushed tomatoes to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for one hour. Stirring occasionally.

Remove duck pieces from the sauce. Take off the skin and remaining fat, and shred the meat off the bones. Add the meat back to the sauce, and stir in the tomato paste. Stir in a large pinch of the marjoram, salt and pepper. Let cook on low for an additional 45 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add the reserved juice from the tomatoes.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Put the 1/2 inch carrot pieces on a foiled baking sheet. Drizzle on olive oil and add salt and pepper. Mix with your hands. Roast for 25 minutes. Set aside when done.

Lower the oven to 350F. Spoon some sauce on the bottom of your lasagna pan. Add a layer of fresh lasagna noodles. Then a thin layer of sauce, some roasted carrots, and a layer of grated pecorino. Repeat until you reach the top of the dish. The last layer should be pasta, then sauce, then cheese. You should have about six layers total. Lightly drape foil on top, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more, then broil for one minute to brown the cheese and crisp the top layer.

Garnish with fresh marjoram leaves and a drizzle of good olive oil.

Fresh Pasta Recipe

Add the flour to a large mixing bowl, and make a well in the middle. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix with your hands, slowly incorporating the flour into the eggs. Mix just until a dough forms. If the dough is wet, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 8 full minutes. To knead, dig forward with the heels of your palms, turn 90 degrees, and push forward again. Turn the same direction each time. The dough will be smooth when ready.

Divide the dough into six equal parts, and pass through each notch of a pasta machine, starting with the widest. You should have long, thin lasagna noodles when finished.

fresh pasta

Where I Shopped:
Duck: Ver Brugge, Oakland
Early girl tomatoes: Happy Boy farms, Berkeley Farmers’ Market
Carrots, marjoram: Avalos Farms, Berkeley Farmers’ Market
Fresh organic eggs: Old Oakland Farmers’ Market
Pecorino pepato, tomato paste: The Pasta Shop, Oakland

Local Lemons is up for two foodbuzz awards – “Best Recipe Blog” and “Best Green/Sustainable Blog.” If you enjoyed this recipe, please vote for me!

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Cate October 12, 2009 at 2:57 am

This recipe includes two things I’m completely intimidated by: duck and homemade pasta. I feel like that makes it the perfect thing to challenge myself with as soon as I can, though!

Reply

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 12, 2009 at 3:32 am

This looks incredible! Perfect for Fall.

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Maria October 12, 2009 at 9:31 am

Wow, what a lasagna!

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denise (chez danisse) October 12, 2009 at 9:43 am

Wow, that looks amazing!

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SproutedKitchen/Sara October 12, 2009 at 10:01 am

you are so right! taking time to cook is ‘giving back to the people you give to you’. Love it. Thats what its all about.

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Kate October 12, 2009 at 11:54 am

I am drooling. I don’t think I have friends worthy of such a yummy dish (or at least that I would want to share with). Can’t wait for an opportunity to make this!

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Kate @ Savour Fare October 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm

That looks AMAZING. And duck ragu is so going on my “to make” list. I wish I had driven across the country when we moved (FOUR years ago) but I flew with the dog.

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Dana October 12, 2009 at 5:32 pm

OK, for real. You guys should come for Thanksgiving. It’s closer and cheaper than going home and I need help in the kitchen! :) Think about it.

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Angela@spinachtiger October 12, 2009 at 5:33 pm

I am going to sound like a broken record here, but you cook the food I could just inhale and I am every so picky. I understand wanting to cook for someone to show how much I value them. I understand the long hours being worth it. This particular dish is going to stick in my head until I actually make it. Bravo!

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Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen October 12, 2009 at 5:35 pm

This really is a perfect fall dish, and a very special one to share as well.

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maggie October 13, 2009 at 6:47 am

It’s always good to hear that’s is possible to find friends and make a new home in a new city. Scary stuff, moving.

This recipe looks incredible, a true labor of love. Now if only I had a pasta roller…

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Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction October 13, 2009 at 11:30 am

Wow – what a beautiful fall dish! Looks amazing.

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Dawson October 14, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Is Rocket a small white dog? I am from Oakland and my friend dogsat for a dog named Rocket once…

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Allison Arevalo October 14, 2009 at 11:10 pm

He’s not! He’s light brown, and looks like a mix of a terrier and Italian greyhound. Who knew there were two Rockets in Oakland?

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rach October 18, 2009 at 2:53 am

duck, ragu, pasta, lasagna……. When we have lunch you can make this.

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Rachel November 11, 2009 at 10:14 am

apprx. how many people would this lasagna serve???

it looks incredible and i may be making it on sunday!!!

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Kieran December 11, 2009 at 7:53 pm

This looked like a really great idea, and since I’d bought a package of Magret Duck Legs that I needed to use rather soon, I made, or attempted to make, this dish today. Unfortunately, the duck legs I used– except the ones I’d prepared au confit two weeks ago– refused to cook sufficiently enough to shred and make into a ragout in time to assemble and cook the lasagna. I ended up with a fairly nice ragout, though nothing earth shattering, and determined that from now on I will only cook duck legs in their own fat. I don’t know how you got your leg meat tender in under two hours, but it took mine close to four in order to be tender enough to shred and eat comfortably. It makes sense that meat cooked in fat will cook at a slightly higher temperature, while retaining much more moisture, than meat cooked in a water based liquid such as the one in your recipe.

I ended up serving the ragout over buttered egg noodles, with shaved parmaggiano on top. Not a bad dish, but had I gone with my gut, I’d have cooked the legs au confit and made this dish one or two weeks hence. Oh, well. Next time.

The good news? We shared an enjoyable holiday meal with wonderful friends (who are not nearly as picky as I am!)….

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Allison Arevalo December 12, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Hi Kieran,
Sorry to hear about your duck legs. Not sure why they didn’t cook sufficiently – but I’m glad you didn’t let it spoil your holiday.

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karendotcom December 12, 2009 at 7:18 pm

You so inspired me with this recipe. I have no issues with making fresh pasta, but my duck skills are zip.

So I went out and got myself a “free-range” (or should that be “free-pond”) ducky and went at it.

New leaf even had the pecorino pepato. I was wondering why you did not ask for salt in the sauce, but after tasting that cheese, now I know why.

Tonight, the duck ragu, tommorrow the lasgagna.

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Allison Arevalo December 12, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Hi Karen, yes, that cheese is salty (but so good). I should have mentioned in the post why I didn’t add salt to the sauce. Hope you enjoy it!

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karendotcom December 13, 2009 at 6:52 pm

You are so right, that cheese melts wonderfully. And it was so fun to use the duck, it really does have a flavour that is amazing. I am going to try the duck fat brussle sprout thing next.

Thanks for the inspiration,

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nicolas torre April 26, 2014 at 9:41 pm

The best lasagna, that i never eat!

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Reply

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Seguramente nunca ocurra un incidente mas ‘’nadie” jamás puede estar seguro y es mejor estar seguro que lamentarlo después.

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