duck and prosciutto ragu pasta bake

  • ¼ cup (25g) chopped dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 cups (500ml) boiling water 
  • 6 x 200g duck marylands 
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper 
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced 
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 
  • 8 slices (120g) prosciutto, chopped 
  • 8 thyme sprigs 
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • ½ cup (125ml) brandy 
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) malt vinegar 
  • 2 cups (500ml) chicken stock 
  • 500g rigatoni 
  • 300g stracchino+, sliced
  1. Place the porcini and boiling water in a large heatproof bowl and set aside for 10 minutes to soak.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Heat a large ovenproof heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the duck with salt and pepper and cook, in batches and skin-side down, for 5 minutes. Turn and cook for a further 5 minutes or until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Drain the fat, reserving 1 tablespoon in the pan. Return to medium heat and add the onion, garlic, prosciutto and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4–5 minutes or until softened. Add the tomato paste, brandy, vinegar, stock, porcini and soaking water and stir to combine.
  4. Return the duck to the pan, cover with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a simmer. Transfer to the oven and cook for 1½ hours or until the duck is tender. Remove the duck from the sauce and allow to cool slightly. 
  5. Using 2 forks, shred the meat, discarding the bones and skin, and return to the sauce. Stir to combine, set aside and keep warm.
  6. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 6–8 minutes or until al dente. Drain, add to the ragu and toss to combine. 
  7. Transfer to 2 x 800ml baking dishes or 1 x 1.6-litre baking dish, top with the stracchino and place on an oven tray. Cook for 15 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Sprinkle with pepper to serve. Serves 4–6.

+ Stracchino is a soft, mild-flavoured cow’s milk cheese. Find it at delicatessens. You can use provolone or mozzarella if unavailable.

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