Duck Bolognese Learn how to make the best homemade Duck Bolognese with Rigatoni recipe from the Silver Oak Napa Valley winery chef, Dominic Orsini. Great with Cabernet wine.
Duck Bolognese

Duck Bolognese

Porcini Mushrooms & Whole Wheat Rigatoni

In my home we make bolognese sauce the day before we serve it - the extra time in the refrigerator allows the flavors to develop. Feel free to substitute the duck with beef, veal or lamb. Portobello mushrooms may be substituted for porcini mushrooms, which have a very short season in the autumn.

Serves 6 / Prep Time: / Total Time:


  1. Heat a large pot over high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the ground meat, and cook until the meat releases its juices and the liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking until the meat sears dark golden brown.
  2. Pour off any excess duck fat, add the garlic, and sauté over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onion, celery, carrot, bay leaf, sage, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger and cook until the vegetables begin to soften and the spices are fragrant, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Add the wine and simmer until nearly all of the wine evaporates. Add the tomatoes, water, sugar, salt, and pepper, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, for 2 hours.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the mushrooms and sear until golden brown, turning as needed, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the shallots and thyme, and sauté until the shallots soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until al dente. Scoop out and reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta. Return the pasta, reserved water, and mushrooms to the pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then add the Parmesan, lemon juice, and zest and stir to combine.
  6. Divide the pasta between serving plates and ladle the bolognese sauce over. Serve immediately, garnished with additional Parmesan.

Chef’s Note:

While ground meat cooks fairly quickly to a grayish brown color, take the time to continue cooking until the meat is dark brown and crispy. This is the secret to a great bolognese and results in a much richer and more complex flavor.

Duck Bolognese

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