Let's Talk Ragu!

I recently enjoyed catching up with some foodie and mummy friends I’d met through Twitter at a new Italian restaurant in Brisbane, Tartufo. I am no restaurant critic and this is not a review, but let’s just say there were a few things I hope they improve to ensure my return custom. We dined on a Wednesday evening and ordered at 7pm to be told they’d run out of mozzarella for the entrée of choice of my friend. An Italian restaurant running out of mozzarella before 7pm….hmm.  

For my main meal I ordered rabbit ragu with pappardelle, as did another friend, which was absolutely delicious and faultlessly seasoned. The handmade pasta was the perfect texture and was velvety smooth. The disappointment came when we both found small bones in our dish. All the meals were beautifully presented but attention to those finer details when you’re paying a premium price is important, in my opinion. 

Anyway, enough about that – let's talk ragu!

My favourite ragu recipe has been adapted from Neal Perry’s Duck Ragu from his book “The Food I Love”. It’s rich and tasty. I have tweaked the recipe slightly as I prefer the meat shredded after cooking rather than diced prior to cooking. The wow factor comes if you go to the effort to make your own pappardelle. 

I learnt to make pasta at a farmhouse near Florence, Tuscany many years ago with a very simple recipe - 100g semolina and 1 egg. No salt, no oil. Kneed it until smooth and elastic (5-10 mins) and allow to rest in the fridge for 20 mins before rolling out. I’m sure you’ve seen a million times on cooking shows how to laminate pasta and roll using your pasta machine, so I won’t bore you with that method.

If you want to try using rabbit for the ragu, I would use white wine in place of the red stated in the recipe so as not to overpower the bunny flavour with red wine. When removing bunny bones, be meticulous. 

Duck Ragu

60g butter

60ml olive oil

3 rashers bacon, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely diced

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 brown onion, finely diced

5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
(don’t be scared)
Sea salt

4 duck Marylands
500ml full-bodied red wine

60ml sherry vinegar

2 x 400g cans Italian tomatoes, chopped and juice reserved



Heat a very large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and add butter and half the olive oil.

Add the bacon, celery, carrot, onion, garlic and some sea salt. Sauté over low heat for 15 mins. Remove.

Increase heat, add remaining olive oil and add the marylands (whole) to brown.

Return bacon, vegetables and garlic to the pan.

Add the wine and vinegar and reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, or until reduced by half.

Add tomatoes and pepper to taste. Simmer gently for 30 mins until duck is cooked.

Remove duck from the pan and shred meat from the bones using two forks. Chop skin.
Discard duck bones. Return meat to the pot.

Cook pappardelle and serve with ragu, topped with chopped parsley and shavings of parmesan.

Rabbit Ragu, Tartufo


  1. You lucky thing- learning to make in Tuscany. The ragu looks really good.! Yum. I'm thinking I might wait to visit tartufo though- at least for a little while.

  2. I would wait too, Eliza. All the food was lovely, it just wasn't as fabulous as I'd hoped. Also not terribly great value. The prices were 'up there'.

  3. mmmm yummy! Loving your blog. I have added you to my blog roll.

    I want to make this now.

  4. oh wow this looks amazing and love twitter meet ups

  5. this looks delish. might have to make soon. And thanks for the Tartufo tips. Will hold off a bit before going.


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