Creamy mushroom and duck spaghetti with cracklings

Fancy pasta night!

In this recipe, you separate the rind from duck breast and let it cook in its own fat to form wonderful cracklings. I replaced heavy cream with a mixture of full-fat milk (can be replaced with low-fat milk if desired) and plain flour to thicken the sauce, and the consistency was just perfect. You can also replace flour with corn starch.

Want a fully dairy-free but creamy pasta? Use my all-purpose cashew cream as a replacement in all your cream-based pasta sauces!

If you have never cooked duck with the skin on before, please pay particular attention to the cooking instructions below.

Serves 2


1 Duck breast, about palm-size, skin on

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced

5 button mushrooms, sliced 

For sauce:

2 tbsp all purpose flour

2/3 to 1 cup full-fat or low-fat milk

Handful of spaghetti or fettuccini 

Recipe Preparation

For duck:

Using a fork, poke small holes in skin without puncturing meat. This process helps to release fat from the skin to get perfect cracklings. 

Put duck breast, skin side down, without oil, in a cold frying pan and place burner on medium high heat. It will take about 3-5 minutes to get the heat up and start cooking. Once it starts sizzling, set a timer to cook for 8 minutes on each side. You want the meat to stay somewhat rare. 

Note: If you have previously removed the duck breast from the fridge and brought it to room temperature, you might reduce total cooking time by 1 to 2 minutes. 

Remove duck breast from pan and remove rind carefully. Thinly slice rind and return strips back to pan with duck fat. Continue to fry rinds on medium high until curly and crispy. Remove from heat, drain on kitchen paper, and set aside. Save 1 tablespoon of duck fat and discard remaining.

Cook pasta according to package instructions. 

Thinly slice duck breast and set aside.

In same pan, fry onion and garlic in duck fat on medium-high until soft. Add mushroom slices and sauté until they have released most of their moisture and are brown all over. Add flour and stir to coat vegetables in pan. Add 2/3 cup milk and reduce heat to medium-low, stirring frequently to combine mixture in pan. If it looks too thick, add 1/6-1/4 cup more milk to loosen. Add sliced duck breast and stir to combine. 

Pour sauce and toss together with pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with duck cracklings. Serve warm.

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