I love duck and I’m always looking for ways to use it in my cooking. However, often times, it’s not the easiest ingredient to find, so when I recently came across a few Confit Legs, I grabbed them and started thinking of recipe ideas.
A few years ago, inspired by a Brasserie in Manhattan which is likely no longer in existence, I published a recipe for the French Provence dish Cassoulet. Hearty, comforting and satisfying, it is the perfect dish to chase away the winter winds. Harnessing that as inspiration, I’ve created today’s dish.
Pasta con Duck Confit
1 pound Rigatoni
2 Duck Legs Confit
6 oz. Bacon or Pancetta
2 small cans white beans
1 can crushed tomatoes
In a pan large enough to hold the finished pasta, gently warm the duck legs over medium low heat. This will take 15-20 minutes to soften the duck and render the fat. Take your time because this is the key to the entire dish. Once completed, transfer the duck legs to a cutting board, remove the meat and dice.
In the pan with the duck fat add the bacon or pancetta and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Avoid turning the bacon crispy. Add the white beans and the tomatoes to the pan and toss through. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until the beans soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the sauce while the pasta water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks to al dente. Once the beans soften, return the duck meat to the pan to warm through. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water to thin the sauce before serving if it become too thick. Toss the pasta with the sauce, transfer to a warmed platter and serve with crusty bread.
The beauty of this dish is that it is extremely versatile from a wine pairing standpoint. I cannot recall what we served alongside it. However, the flavors are robust and hearty. Barbera, Chianti Classico, Brunello, Vino Nobile, even Dolcetto would all work splendidly. In the wake of the holidays, there are likely duck legs lying around. If you see them, give this a try!