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Ducky Tomato Sauce for Pasta

Those who live in Southwest France have found all kinds of uses for the many, many ducks they raise. Duck appears in dishes you’d never expect — sometimes just as duck fat, or with a whiff of ducky-ness that comes with using duck stock. This is one such recipe. It is essentially the standard tomato sauce I make on any given weeknight, but I’ve “ducked it up” here.

This is a great recipe for an adventurous hunter, or for someone who’s just roasted a domestic duck and made stock: You’ve eaten the delicious duck, but are left with several quarts of sauce and a bunch of rendered duck fat, which is tres yummy. This sauce stores well, too.

Serves 4-6.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons duck fat
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 5 minced garlic cloves
  • 6 minced sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or 1 small hot chile (like an arbol)
  • 1 cup light red wine, like Grenache or Pinot Noir
  • 1 cup duck stock
  • 1 quart crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons parsley
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti or other pasta


  1. Fry the onions lightly in the duck fat over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Do not let them brown. Add the garlic and minced sage and cook another 1-2 minutes. Add the cayenne and tomato paste and stir well to combine. Cook this for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the red wine, mix well and turn the heat up to high. Boil it hard until the mixture is thick. Add the duck stock and boil this down by half.
  3. Add the tomatoes, stir well and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add half the parsley. Let this simmer down for 15-20 minutes, depending on how thick the sauce is. You want it thick enough to easily coat spaghetti without leaving a puddle at the bottom of a bowl or plate. If you want a perfectly smooth sauce, puree it in a blender. The color will lighten a bit.
  4. Cook the spaghetti to al dente — or however you like your spaghetti — drain and toss with some of the sauce in a large bowl.
  5. To serve, arrange a bit of spaghetti on a plate, ladle a dollop of sauce on top and garnish with the rest of the parsley.

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