Penne Pasta with Grilled Duck, Tomatoes, and Mushrooms


by: Sara Joe

Back home, you fire up the coals, taking great delight in the blazing heat. You scatter the raw chicken pieces on the grate and begin a male ritual that has survived countless generations. You flip his food. You figure you are not really grilling unless you are poking the food and turning it over regularly. Trouble is, the chicken is sticking. Every time you pick up a piece, you leave a little skin behind on the grate. The fat in the skin melts and drips into the grill. With the lid open, the fat begins to flare-up. You've created the ideal environment for burning: lots of heat, lots of fat, and lots of air. You notice that the chicken pieces are looking dark, so you try to cover up the blackened spots with some barbecue sauce. You brush the sauce on liberally and continue the ritual. Turn, turn, turn. Burn, burn, burn. Eventually the sauce has burned so much that you figure the chicken must be cooked, so you pull it off the grill and serve it. Guess what? It is still raw at the bone. Sear bone-in chicken pieces over direct medium heat, waiting patiently for them to release from the grate before trying to turn them. Once the chicken pieces have a nice golden brown color on all sides, move them over indirect heat, where they will roast evenly. By keeping the lid closed as much as possible, you will prevent flareups, you will speed up the cooking time, and you will capture the smokiness that gives grilled food its unique appeal. In short, you will become a true grilling guru and a much better host.


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serves: 4

2 boneless duck breast halves (4-6 ounces each)

Extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 portabello mushrooms (each 4-5 inches across)

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 cup chicken stock

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

3/4 pound penne pasta

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggino cheese [optional]

Nutrition Facts
Penne Pasta with Grilled Duck, Tomatoes, and Mushrooms

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 201

  • Total Fat: 6.9 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 2.9 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 56.6 mg
  • Sodium: 441.3 mg
  • Total Carbs: 16.7 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 3 g
  •     Sugars: 7 g
  • Protein: 18.5 g

how is this calculated?

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1.  Trim the duck breasts of any skin or fat that hangs over the edges. Lightly brush the meat side of the duck with oil and season both sides with salt and pepper. Prepare the mushrooms by removing the stems and scraping out the black gills with a teaspoon. Generously brush or spray both sides of the mushrooms with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the duck and mushrooms over Indirect High heat for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once [the duck will be rare at this point, but it will be cooked further in the sauce]. Set the duck and mushrooms aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, cut the duck and mushrooms into bite-size pieces. Remove the skin from the duck, if desired.

2.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onions until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the red wine vinegar and cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with juice, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 5 minutes.

3.  While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain. Add the duck, mushrooms, and pasta to the skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring to combine the pasta with the sauce. Remove from the heat. Add the thyme and butter, stirring to melt the butter. Mix well. Serve warm with the cheese, if desired.

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