Garganelli with Duck and Pancetta Ragu, Arugula, Peas & Fresh Ricotta


I know it’s been way too long since my last post but a serie of unfortunate events kept me away from my computer for the past two weeks. First i’ve been sick with some bad flu virus. I thought it was the all the swine i have eaten over a lifetime taking revenge on me but luckily it wasn’t that flu strain (err.. i think). To make things worse it was followed by an episode of tonsilitis and strep throat which knocked me out for the better part of two weeks. Not fun. I’m trying to recover as fast as i can because i’ll be going to Hong-Kong next week (still waiting for confirmation) so if you’re on that side of the world say hello and come have lunch with me while i’m there! I shouldn’t be contagious anymore and even if Ā i am i won’t cough in your face. I’m nice like that.

I will keep this post short and sweet because i have to get my next dose of antibiotics. Things are looking up though, i will be consulting and developing recipes for a new ice cream shop in New York this summer. More on that later but if you have some killer ice cream recipe i absolutely need try, please share. It’s such good karma to share good recipes that you can expect ice cream pints falling from the sky right in your backyard. Who wouldn’t want that?


This dish continues with the spring theme. A nice duck and pancetta ragu tossed [GGRRRR] with garganelli, arugula, peas and fresh [GGRRRR] ricotta. It’s good, it’s damn good! Using fatty duck meat in a ragu gives it a deep, heady, gamy flavor that’s sure to [GGRRRR] please. The fresh peas, arugula and [GGRRR] ricotta brighten up the flavors and provide great balance. And when you hear my belly go GGGGRRRR, you know it’s gotta be good. Enjoy! [GGRRR]

  • Garganelli with Duck and Pancetta Ragu, Arugula, Peas & Fresh Ricotta

    • Serves 6
    • For the duck and pancetta ragu:
    • 3 tablespoons XV olive oil
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 2 medium carrots, chopped
    • 2 celery stalks, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1 bottle dry white wine
    • 3/4 lb pancetta, diced
    • 2 lbs ground duck meat
    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 1 cup chicken stock
    • 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
    • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
    • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
    • 2 bay leaves
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • For the pasta:
    • 1 lb garganelli
    • 2 cups baby arugula
    • 1 cup fresh peas, blanched
    • 2 cups fresh ricotta
    • Grated locatelli cheese for serving
    • duck-ragu-9-21

      • For the duck and pancetta ragu:
    • In a large pan, cook the pancetta until it becomes brown and crisp. Reserve on a plate lined with paper towel. Do not discard the fat. Add the duck to the same pan and cook over high heat until it gets brown, about 10 minutes. Return the cooked pancetta to the pan with the duck and cook a few more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    • Meanwhile, in a separate heavy pot, warm the oil. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook until the vegetables begin to brown and start sticking to the bottom of the pan.
    • Transfer the meat to the vegetable mixture and continue cooking over medium heat. Deglaze with half the wine scraping the bottom of the pan. Reduce until almost dry. Add the milk and simmer slowly until it evaporates and coats the meat, about 30 minutes. Add the chicken stock, the remaining wine, the tomatoes, the herbs and simmer for an hour more. Adjust seasoning.
    • duck-ragu-101

    • For the pasta:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente. Toss with the pasta sauce, arugula, peas and ricotta in a large bowl. Serve garnished with locatelli cheese. Enjoy!
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  • Tartelette

    Hope you are back 100% really soon! Honk Kong? Super ca mon p’tit bonhomme!

  • Manggy

    You’re telling me– I’m going GGGRRRR here myself! But now I have to satisfy myself with my lesser lunch šŸ˜› Good luck with the ice cream biz!

  • elra

    I hope that you fully recover soon. Glad that wasn’t swine flu. Hong Kong? how fun, I hope you enjoy your visit there. I am sure they are many blogger want to meet you for lunch.
    Pasta look grrrrreat! Yum!

  • Irene

    Oh, mmmmm, that sounds seriously amazing! I love anything with duck, and I love these photos.

  • T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types

    These photos are just infused with spring! Delicious. Hope you are feeling better.

  • Rasa Malaysia

    Hope you are feeling better. Hong Kong, nice. I am in Beijing now and then will stop over in Hong Kong and then in Malaysia and back to Hong Kong and then back to LAX. What are you in Hong Kong for???

  • Darius T. Williams

    You already know THIS ROCKS!

  • doggybloggy

    arguably arugula (GGRR) thats all I’ve got….

  • dawn

    oh you have to get better for Hong Kong, I mean seriously. Take lots of probiotics, that will help boost your immune system.
    We better see lots of pictures from Hong Kong. Are you writing this down?

  • Grace

    Your recipes always look (and taste) great – hope you are feeling better and have fun in Hong Kong!

  • Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    I hope you are feeling better. A trip to Hong Kong sounds fabulous, can’t wait for the travel pictures and write-ups. Garganelli with duck sounds fabulous!

  • jen

    HONG KONG?? what happened to miami? :)

  • we are never full

    whole milk, huh? i like that. it looks way creamier than whole milk. i hope you feel better – working in a school has been tough during this crazy time. there really is alot of regular old flu going around – everyone is so crazy about swine flu. but the pig really does need to get its revenge on you. lol.

  • enrisa marie

    Is this recipe already forward- looking? :) Duck is popular in Hong Kong as well, isn’t it? Hong Kong…hmmm… I have a few memories of Chinese winter there. Very windy. Good luck zEN cHEF.

  • Thijs Drosten

    Hi ZenChef,

    I’m new here, but enjoy reading your articles/recipes, so I thought I’ll contribute an ice cream idea. Admittedly it is not mine, but it is better to copy greatness anyway.

    Gary Rhodes did a great white chocolate and coffee ice cream, where you store broken up white chocolate whit coffee beans in the fridge for a time, giving a perfectly white ice cream, with a light coffee smell and flavour. Very surprising, and nice taste balance with the added coffee kick.
    My personal favourite is elderflower syrup ice cream, which is just a plain custard, mixed with elderflower cordial before freezing. Lovely floral smell and refreshing taste from the elderflower.

    Anyway, enjoy Hong Kong and let us know how your ice cream experiments work out.

  • Rachel (S[d]OC)

    Well come on, what doesn’t taste better with duck meat? There is pancetta too. That really ensures a good dish, no?

    Hope you’re feeling better. Don’t go spreading your germs too far and wide and create a new pandemic.

    Now that I’ve made you paranoid, have a great trip!

  • Rachel (S[d]OC)

    BTW, am I the only one here who reads “Garganelli” and thinks of “Gargamel” the evil dude from the Smurf cartoons?

  • SarahB

    I had a great fig gelato in Florence. Don’t have the recipe but I’m sure you can come up with one!

  • Janet @Gourmet Traveller88

    Yummy yummy, you guys make me homesick, not sure when I would be going back. Miss the food there. Zenchef, I would like to try your recipe one day but have to find some duck first, will frozen ones be OK?

  • clumbsycookie

    Oh my dear Zen Man, you were sick?! I had no idea! I’m glad you’re doing better now! You’ll be so fine after eating ice cream, ice cream makes all better (except your hips)! Have a wonderful time on that side of the world! Did you get my mail?

  • Its Not You, it’s Brie

    So many penne pasta dishes lack the sauce necessary for such a big and sexy pasta- but the ricotta coats it nicely and the fatty duck, well, who’s got anything bad to say about lush duck?

  • Giff

    love it, AS USUAL

  • Paula Pereira

    First off, Hope you are feeling better:)

    Secondly, that’s great news that you may be going to Hong Kong, sounds really fun!

    Lastly, I think you should create a black sesame ice cream and perhaps something with rose water and pistachios. Ice cream is way too tasty!

  • Colloquial Cook

    Yeah, like Giff, basically.

    Can’t believe you didn’t save me any. Watch it. Encore un coup comme Ƨa et fini les commentaires *sympas*.

  • Peter

    Welcome back- it looks great. Hey, Guinness ice cream is pretty great. So is Thai coconut curry.

  • Claudia

    Nice you live where you can buy ground duck. The only thing ducklike around here is a whole frozen one. Enjoy Hong Kong. The food is amazing.

  • acey

    zenman, i big pink puffy heart your new blog!!! and, look, more recipes!!! thanks. šŸ˜€

  • TaXiS

    when i see that i want to run to the shop and buy the ingredients, but if you’re in HK, and if you think coming to Singapore let me know, and i will be happy to hire a private chef for a dinner at the pool….

  • Cheffyboy

    hey zen, Cardamom Pear icecream is a good one/ cut your custard with a low butterfat by using half & half and the flavors will be brighter. Have a fun time in Hong Kong!

  • Sean

    The last step is to “toss with the pasta sauce” – sauce?