Duck Confit Sugo

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 12+ hours
Degree of Difficulty: very easy


  • 4 duck legs
  • 2 tbsp salt + more as needed
  • olive oil
  • 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • ¼ - ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ⅓ lb pasta (pappardelle or spaghetti)
  • 2 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 4 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • leaves of 10-12 sprigs fresh thyme


  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • spices you can add to salt cure: cinnamon, cayenne, cumin, fennel, coriander

Special Equipment

  • slow cooker
  • pasta cooker


For Duck Confit (prepare duck about 1 day ahead of making the sauce)

  1. Work salt into duck legs (add additional spices if desired). Cover and let rest in refrigerator 2 hours
  2. After 2 hours, wash the salt off the duck legs and pat dry. Place legs in the bowl of a slow cooker, cover with olive oil until legs are submerged. With careful arrangement, it should only take a small amount of oil to completely cover the legs. Turn slow cooker on low-medium setting and allow to cook between 160° and 200° for at least 6 hours, and up to 24 hours

Prepare Sauce & Pasta

  1. Pull the meat off the cooked duck legs, shredding it into small chunks
  2. In a preheated sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil, and add meat to briefly sear and generate browning reaction. (If desired, sauté diced yellow onion in olive oil before adding duck)
  3. Add diced tomatoes to the pan, stirring to combine and using a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to avoid meat from sticking. Add tomato sauce and cayenne pepper, Lower heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes
  4. While the sauce is simmering, cook your pasta per package directions. Strain the pasta, but do not rinse it – this will leave the pasta “stickier” because of the starches on the outside of the pasta, so will help thicken the sauce

Assemble & Serve

  1. Add the cheese to the sauce and stir to combine
  2. Strip the leaves off sprigs of thyme and add the leaves to the sauce
  3. Toss pasta with sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary

Adapted from Cooking For Geeks by Jeff Potter, O’Reilly