Monday, April 4, 2011

Comfort Food

Potato Gnocchi in Ragu

For me this is soul deep satisfaction and the true beauty of it is that not only do I enjoy this meal (and the glass of pinot noir that accompanies it) but my two boys eat it with so much enthusiasm and enjoyment that the only dinner time hassle is is there more?  These little potato dumplings are Italian and are a nice alternative to pasta. 

Ragu - Sauce Bolognese

500grms prime beef mince
500grms pork mince
50grms butter
50grms oil
100grms pancetta   (or best bacon)
2tspns finely chopped garlic
1 large onion
1 large carrot
2 stalks celery
250mls red wine
250mls beef stock
2 x 410gm tinned Italian tomatoes 
2 bayleaves
4 juniper
4 cloves
piece of cinnamon stick
large handful chopped fresh oregano
salt and pepper

In a food processor blend roughly chopped carrot, celery, onion and pancetta until finely chopped or hand cut very finely (brunoise).  In a large pan heat oil and butter together when hot add the vegetables and cook until golden add meats and continue to brown remembering that colour is flavour and the deeper the colour the better the depth of flavour will be.  Be patient and stir often.  Deglaze the pan with red wine lifting all the sticky bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add stock tomatoes, spices and herbs.  Simmer on a low heat for an hour.  Season well.  I would recommend tripling this recipe and freezing quantities for use another day.

Potato Gnocchi 

1kg potatoes, scrubbed
220grms plain flour
1 egg lightly beaten
100grms grated parmesan
2tsp salt and plenty of pepper.

Bake potatoes until soft.  (oven or microwave) This is done so that the potato stays very dry.  While the potato is hot scoop out the flesh and push through a sieve into a bowl gently mix through other ingredients until just combined.  Divide dough into four, then working one piece at a time roll on a lightly floured surface to for a 2cm diameter cylinder.  Cut into 1.5cm lengths.  Place on a floured tray and continue on with the remainder of the dough.  Cook in batches in plenty of boiling salted water the dumplings are ready when they float to the top.  As they are ready add them to your meat sauce so that they can absorb the sauce. Or refresh in ice water to hold them until you are ready for them.

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