Friday, April 20, 2007

Gnocchi Bolognese

So what if the last two real dinners we had were gnocchi? Are you counting?

Well, thats my hangup. I find something new, and I make it over and over again - 3 or 4 times over a couple of weeks. Just to make sure... its research!

When I mentioned to my (Italian) friend Stephanie that I was going to toss the two together, she seemed shocked. WHY would I mix gnocchi and bolognese??? My favorite Italian place, Filomena's, has it on their menu that way, and its the only thing I've ever had there. And I'm very much ok with that. :)

I had the extra gnocchi frozen from a couple of nights ago... and I was in the mood for bolognese. This particular recipe makes A LOT of bolognese... I just put away 5 baggies of it for future dinners, AFTER we'd already had our dinner. Mind you, its just the two of us. Dave loves it, and its an easy dinner down the road. Woohoo!

Now, totally by chance, I grated enough parm that I had enough rind to trim off and add to my collection in the freezer. As I was putting the bag away, I thought, why not actually use some of these cheese rinds? Why am I freezing them if I'm not going to use them? So, for the first time ever, I threw three in the sauce (near the end). They mostly dissolved... and I can't say that I notice a difference. I've never used parm rinds before, I don't know if I used them in the right dish, so if you have any rind experience/guidance, let me know.

PS: Turns out that Steph misunderstood me, and thought I was having (ruining) my gnocchi with bearnaise, rather than bolognese. Explains the horrified look she gave me. :)

Adapted from:
Spaghetti Bolognese

By: Emeril Lagasse,,FOOD_9936_28747,00.html?rsrc=search

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces bacon or pancetta, diced
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
3/4 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pound ground beef or ground veal
1/2 pound pork sausage, removed from the casings, or ground pork
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes and their juice
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup beef or chicken stock or broth
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 pound spaghetti
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until browned and the fat is rendered, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the beef and sausages, and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and remove any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan, and until half of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato sauce, beef broth, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the sauce is thickened and flavorful, about 1 1/2 hours. Add the cream, butter, and parsley, stir well, and simmer for 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and return the water to a low boil. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking, until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander.

Add the pasta to the sauce, tossing to coat. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese and toss to blend. Divide among pasta bowls and serve with the cheese passed tableside. (Alternatively, toss only the desired portion of pasta with a bit of the sauce at a time in a serving bowl, reserving the remainder for another meal.)


2nd-favorite said...

Just found your flog. I must admit that I do the same (make a new dish four or five times over a couple of weeks.) This really puts the wife off though. She gets tired of whatever it is. Sorry, no tips for cheese rinds but I would suggest pancetta instead of bacon for a bolognese. Your friend may be right, gnocchi and bolognese may not be traditional, but it sounds delicious so who cares. Great blog, keep it up.

Katie B. said...

Thanks!! Well, let your wife know that she isn't alone - she and my husband can form a support group!! I def. went the pancetta route - it holds up a lot better with the long cooking!

Desert Dad said...

Meat and taters, Italian style. Woo-hoo!