Lockdown Recipe of the Day: Slow roasted duck pasta with sage butter

Lockdown Recipe of the Day: Slow roasted duck pasta with sage butter
Slow roasted duck pasta with sage butter, from Gordon Wright's book Karoo Food (Penguin Random House). (Photo: Sean Calitz)

When duck hunting season comes around I love to make this tasty pasta dish, as I can maximise the leg meat into a hearty meal and save the breasts for a classier dish.


Duck meat is much easier to cook than you think; the only problem is that there is very little meat on the body apart from the breasts, legs and thighs and to complicate that further, the breasts like to be cooked medium rare and the legs well done, so it is a problem when trying to cook the whole bird. I therefore prefer to section my duck and cook the bit individually.

Just 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. If you do this right, both the sauce and the pasta will be done at the same time.


Serves 4

500g pasta of your choice (I would use tagliatelle)

*1 or 2 slow-roasted duck legs (thighs attached)*

4 finely chopped garlic cloves

¼ tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 Tbs butter

1-2 Tbs duck fat


Freshly ground black pepper

Lemon zest

6 fresh sage leaves

1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

To slow roast raw duck legs, first pat them dry. Prick skin all over with a toothpick to help render out fat. Salt all over generously. Place skin side up in a 150°C 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 190°C for 15 minutes until the duck starts to get a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. (Be sure to reserve the rendered fat for later.)


Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

While the water is heating, pick all of the meat off the duck legs and reserve the skin. Tear the meat and skin into smallish pieces and add most of the ripped up sage.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the butter, duck fat and the duck meat, skin and sage mixture. Lower the heat to medium.

Put the pasta in the boiling water. Stir it from time to time.

Add the garlic and rosemary to the pan with the duck meat. Cook for a minute, or until fragrant and just beginning to brown at the edges and then remove from heat.

When pasta is al dente use tongs to take it from the boiling water right into the sauté pan. Return to the heat. Toss the pasta in the 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 and chopped sage sprinkled on top. DM/TGIFood

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This recipe is from Gordon Wright’s book Karoo Food, published by Penguin Random House.


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