Tag Archives: Sauteed mushrooms


A duck ragù is nothing new, but it always seems to be special. Pappardelle is the pasta of choice for game and duck.


I bought a whole duck, dismembered it and trimmed away the obvious fat. I cooked the duck for the ragù over 2 days because ducks can be very fatty and I wanted to remove some of the fat.


I left the cooked duck overnight and the liquid jellied (in the meantime the flavours also intensified) and the fat rose to the top making it easier for me to remove most of I with a spoon. I used some of the duck fat to sauté the mushrooms.


1 duck
for the soffritto: 1 onion, 1 carrot,1 stalk of celery
fresh rosemary, bay leaves
½ cup of diced tomatoes or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 cups dry red wine
3 cups chicken stock
salt and black pepper
250g mushrooms…on this occasion I used brown mushrooms.
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
fresh thyme and parsley

Wipe the duck pieces to dry them as much as possible.

Heat a heavy based casserole and over medium heat add the duck skin-side down and fry until browned and fat renders (6-9 minutes).

IMG_8196 (1)

Drain most of the fat. Turn and fry until browned (2-3 minutes), then set aside.


To the same saucepan add onion and soften slightly before adding the carrot and celery and sauté until vegetables are tender (5-8 minutes).


Return the duck pieces to the pan, add the wine, stock, tomatoes, seasoning, bay leaves and rosemary.


Cover and cook slowly for about 1¾-2¼ hours, until the meat looks as it will be easy to separate from the bones.

Leave to cool. The fat will rise to the top making it easier to remove.

Reheat the duck braise very briefly, just sufficiently to melt the jelly.

Remove the duck pieces and set aside. When they are cool enough to handle remove the the skin and strip the meat from the bones in chunks. Discard herbs and the bones.


Drain the solids from the liquid and add these to the duck. Place the liquid from the braise (i.e. that is yet to be reduced) in a separate container.


Wipe the pan and use some of the fat to sauté the mushrooms and garlic. Add parsley and thyme and some seasoning.


Deglaze the pan using about a cup of liquid and evaporate most of it. Repeat with the left over liquid until it has reduced.


Add the duck, a couple of twists of nutmeg and the ragù is ready.


Combine the cooked pasta with the duck ragù and serve.


Pasta: I used egg Pappardelle.

Grated Parmigiano on top.

See Pappardelle with hare:

PAPPARDELLE (Pasta with Hare or game ragù)

PAPPARDELLE Continued…..

A Sicilian recipe for Duck:

Anatra a paparedda cu l’ulivi (Sicilian Duck with green olives and anchovies)

FUNGHI AL FUNGHETTO (Braised mushrooms)

This recipe is for mushrooms (funghi) and for this I have used King mushrooms.

FUNGHI AL FUNGHETTO is not quite Sicilian. Al funghetto is a cooking method which probably originated in Liguria and Toscana, but which is now embraced by all of Italy and not just used for mushrooms.  In Italian, the use of al, allo and alla constructions (e.g. allo scoglio, alla caprese), is the equivalent of the French use of à la (e.g à la parisienne). It means cooked in the style of , and in this case, as cooking mushrooms (funghetto). For example, if I was cooking zucchini or eggplants al funghetto, the vegetables would be cooked in the same way as cooking mushrooms – thinly sliced, sautéed in extra virgin olive oil and flavoured with parsley, garlic (and sometimes a small quantity of tomato).

Usually if cooking al funghetto, garlic cloves are added to the hot oil and then removed, or if you do not mind eating it, chopped garlic is added at the same time as the mushrooms, but because King mushrooms require a longer cooking time, the garlic burns, therefore I sauté the mushrooms before adding the garlic.

In Liguria (the Genova region) as well as parsley and garlic, oregano is commonly used (wild oregano is preferred and is called cornabugia) whereas in Toscana (around Firenze) the oregano is usually replaced with a little calamint (nepitella).

As you can see in the photo, I have also used bay leaves and on different occasions I have used sage (salvia) – to impart a meaty flavour to the brawny mushrooms.

If my relatives were cooking funghi al funghetto in Sicily they would most likely add a little chopped tomato as well as the parsley and garlic (and perhaps oregano), but no sage, no catnip because they are not herbs that are commonly used in Sicily.

King mushrooms are readily available in Melbourne. Many are imported from Asia and tend to be sold very cheaply. Although they are more expensive, I always buy those that are grown locally – food miles and supporting local growers are important factors – and the mushrooms are not likely to have been sprayed with a preservative.

I like these mushrooms because they are very large and meaty.They retain their firm textured and you can eat the whole fungus. I presented them with bread (need I say good sourdough or pasta dura?) as an antipasto but they could also be a contorno (accompanying side dish) or a pasta sauce (lasagne – great!)

I estimated ½  – ¾ mushroom per person. In this recipe I have used the Ligurian choice of herb, oregano, but you can replace it with one of the other herbs mentioned above.


mushrooms, 4 large

garlic (either 2 -3 cloves or the fresh Australian garlic which I buy in bunches- use the green and the bulb)

parsley, ½ cup, finely chopped

oregano, ½ teaspoon of dry, or if using fresh, a few sprigs
extra virgin olive oil, 5-6 tablespoons( King mushrooms absorb quite a bit)
salt  and freshly ground black pepper to taste

white wine and stock or water, ½ cup of each


Clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth, slice each one into 4-5 even slices.

Heat some of the extra virgin olive oil, add the mushrooms and on medium heat sauté each side until golden.  Sprinkle each with salt and add more oil as necessary. Remove the mushrooms.

Add a little more of the oil, add the garlic, parsley and oregano (or sage).  Use high heat and stir frequently so that they do not burn or stick.

Add wine and deglaze the pan, add water, mushrooms and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for about 10minutes. The mushrooms will have softened slightly and absorbed some of the flavours.