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homemade gnocchi with duck ragu
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5 from 19 votes

Homemade Gnocchi with Duck Ragu: Recipe from Le Marche

A rich and tasty recipe of homemade potato gnocchi served with duck ragu. A perfect special occasion or Sunday lunch dish that will definitely impress your friends and family.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: homemade gnocchi, Main Course
Cuisine: Central Italy, Italian, Le Marche
Keyword: authentic Italian pasta recipe, duck, duck sauce, homemade gnocchi, potato gnocchi, traditional italian dish
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono


For the gnocchi

  • 1 kg potatoes (2lbs) with white or light yellow floury flesh such as Russets, Primula, Desiree,
  • 250 g all-purpose flour (9oz) or Italian '00' flour.
  • 1 egg large
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano grated

For the duck ragu

  • 1 kg Duck pieces (2lbs)
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 carrots washed and finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery washed and finely chopped
  • 450 g tomato passata (16oz)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste/concentrate mixed with hot water
  • 1/2 glass white wine
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary chopped
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
  • salt to cook gnocchi and to season duck
  • freshly ground black pepper. to taste


Make the potato gnocchi

  • Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water until soft. Drain and let them cool a little. I pass the potatoes through a potato ricer to puree them. So I don’t peel them first because the peel stays in the ricer. But if you are going to use a food mill or just mash them with a fork, you’ll need to peel them first.
  • Gnocchi need to be made with potatoes that are still warm and fluffy so don’t let them get cold! But mind you don’t burn your fingers when peeling them.
  • Next put the potato puree in a bowl with the flour, egg, cheese and a pinch of salt. Mix together well then turn out onto a floured pastry board and knead until you have a soft elastic dough! Don’t knead too much or too heavily as your gnocchi will be chewy. You need the same lightness you would use for pastry.
  • Cut a quarter of the dough off and cover the rest with a tea towel to prevent it drying out too quickly. Re-flour your work surface. I used semolina flour (semola in Italian).
  • Divide the quarter into two and roll each piece out into a rope or snake about as thick as your thumb and cut it into pieces about 2-3 cm wide (3/4-1in). Press your thumb lightly into the gnocchi to form a slight cavity or press against an gnocchi board or the tines of a fork to create grooves. Set the ready gnocchi aside on a lightly floured tray.

Make the duck ragu.

  • Wash the celery and carrots and chop finely. Peel and chop the onion finely too. I use a food processor to chop them very small. Wash the duck pieces and pat dry. Rub a little salt and pepper into the skin.
  • Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy skillet or Dutch oven. Sauté the onions, carrots and celery until they start to soften. Add the duck pieces skin down and cook until the skin begins to brown. Then turn them over and brown the other side slightly. Pour in the wine and allow the alcohol to evaporate.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, and the tomato passata and tomato paste slightly dissolved in hot water. Simmer until the duck is cooked through, about 45-60 minutes depending on the size of your duck pieces. Duck can be eaten slightly pink and may get chewy if overcooked.
  • When the duck is ready. Remove the pieces from the sauces. Allow them to cool a little and cut the meat off the bones and remove the skin. Cut the duck meat pieces into small chunks. If the sauce seems fatty remove some of the oil before returning the meat to the sauce.

Finish the dish.

  • Cook the gnocchi in lightly salted boiling water. They are ready when they rise to the surface. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and add to the duck sauce. Mix everything together with a couple of tablespoons of grated Parmigiano cheese. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of fresh rosemary and more grated cheese if required.


If you want to get this dish on the table faster, you can also make this gnocchi with duck ragu using ready-made gnocchi and ready deboned duck. The duck will cook faster without bones so make sure it doesn't overcook.
The gnocchi can be frozen uncooked and then cooked from frozen without defrosting. If you cook frozen gnocchi, do so a few at a time as too many will lower the temp of the water. 
To reduce fat content (duck can be fatty) remove skin and fat from the duck before cooking it.