Bigoli co l’Anara

Venetian Whole-Wheat Pasta with Duck Sauce

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

In the Venetian version of this pasta, the duck is boiled and served for the second course and the pasta for the first course is made with the giblets and vegetables. Since we couldn’t sell boiled duck in the restaurant if our lives depended on it, we roast the duck and add the meat to the sauce. I think you’ll like this pasta, even if it isn’t authentic.


  • 1 ready-to-cook duck (about 5 pounds)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • 2 medium ribs celery, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes, drained and diced, juices reserved
  • 2 cups Chicken or Duck Stock, reduced to 1 cup
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or sage
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Whole-Wheat Pasta for 6, rolled and cut for fettuccine, or 1 pound dried fettuccine


    Preheat the oven to 500°F. Cut the wings from the duck. Trim all excess fat and reserve. Reserve the liver. Place the duck, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan and sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper. Prick the duck all over with a fork. Roast until the juices run clear, about 1 hour. Transfer to a platter and let cool. Strain the pan drippings into a large skillet.

    Add the reserved fat to the pan drippings and cook over low heat until melted. Strain the fat and measure 6 tablespoons into a cup. Reserve a little of the remaining fat for sautéing the duck liver.

    Heat the fat in a large saute pan or deep skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in the garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, the reduced stock, and wine. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.

    Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling.

    Meanwhile, remove the meat from the duck and cut it into bite-size pieces. Sauté the duck liver in a little fat in a small skillet over low heat until cooked through. Let cool slightly, then finely chop. Add the duck liver and meat to the sauce. Stir in the thyme and nutmeg; simmer about 10 minutes.

    Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until tender if using fresh pasta or al dente if using dried. Drain the pasta and transfer to a pasta bowl. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Add the sauce to the pasta and quickly toss to combine. Serve hot.