Be ready, because today we will make the ultimate gnocchi with bolognese sauce recipe! When it comes to gnocchi, there are two productive philosophies: those who prefer soft and fluffy gnocchi, and they are made with the addition of a couple of eggs, and those who prefer hard smash-mouth style gnocchi with a more rustic flavor.
We are tough guys, but we like flabby melting gnocchi that you don’t even have to chew but feel free to experiment: there is no definitive or original recipe for making gnocchi. Quite the contrary, there is a saying in Italy: the good gnocchi recipe is where is your heart.
Another aspect to consider is the variety of potatoes to make gnocchi. After all, they are nothing more than 95% of the preparation… The first piece of advice is not to use watery potatoes. Otherwise, you will have to add flour, and in this way, the dough will become harder, and the flavor will be diluted.
It’s all a potato matter
In reality, there are at least 5000 varieties of potatoes globally, but the one we recommend is the Avezzano potato, one of the best Italian potatoes. It is an excellent potato because it is rich in vitamins and mineral salts and has an incredible, dense flavor reminiscent of chestnuts and hazelnuts.
But let’s go back to our gnocchi recipe. The only rule to avoid mistakes is to put the flour a little at a time. Do not throw it all over the mixture of boiled potatoes. Wait, knead and feel the consistency of the potatoes and how much water they absorbed during cooking. It is not just a matter of following the doses but finesse and learning to use suitable raw materials.
Ingredients for making gnocchi with ragù bolognese
- 600 g of potatoes
- 100 g of flour
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper
To make ragù
- 400 grams of ground beef
- 400 grams of ground pork
- 100 grams of thinly sliced bacon/pancetta
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stalk
- 300 ml of tomato puree
- olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- half a glass of milk
- 1 glass of dry white wine
- 1 glass of broth
- salt and pepper
How to make gnocchi with ragù bolognese
If you want to make ragù, remember that you have to grind your meat by yourself or let it grind to your butcher. But never lower yourself to buy minced meat. You don’t know what’s in it: Man has to do what a man has to do, so take care of your meat. We will start with the preparation of the bolognese sauce, which you can also make the day before: the sooner you do it, the better!
Slice the onion, chop the carrot and the celery, then brown them over low heat in a thick-bottomed saucepan with 8 tablespoons of oil. When the onion is golden but not blackened, add the beef and pork and the pancetta, mix with a wooden spoon, and cook for at least 10 minutes, stirring often. The meat must be well browned, so do not be in a hurry and continue to shell it with calm to “eliminate” a little bit of fat.
Deglaze with the wine, stir and let it evaporate, add and pepper if necessary. Pour the tomato puree (but you can also use the peeled tomatoes), the milk, and the broth, and stir. You need to cook the ragù over low heat for at least 3 hours. Remember to check every 30 minutes so that the sauce does not stick to the bottom of the saucepan. If the sauce gets too dry, add more broth.
Now let’s move on to the preparation of the potato gnocchi. Wash the potatoes well, boil them in plenty of salted water for 40 minutes, then drain the potatoes, let them cool, and remove the peel when they have cooled off.
Flour a cutting board and mash the potatoes to make them into a soft puree. Form a mound, dig the center and add the flour, then the eggs, salt, and pepper, and you can start to knead. Don’t immediately put all the flour in. Add 3/4 of the dose, and then see how the dough reacts.
Take a handful of flour and spread it on the pasta/pastry board. Now all you have to do is cut a piece of potato dough and roll it under the palm of your hand until you get a tiny strip with a diameter of about 3 centimeters. It depends on how big you want the gnocchi, but you can make them a little bigger considering that these gnocchis have a reasonably soft and plump texture.
With a well-sharpened knife, cut into tiny pieces.
Roll gnocchis on a kitchen comb, like the one used to make garganelli, or press them lightly with a fork. In this way, they will be less bold, and once seasoned, they will retain much more sauce. Once you have finished making all these gnocchis, flour them lightly, cover with a cloth and let them rest for 2 hours.
When you are ready, put the water to boil, add salt and then dip the gnocchi, which will cook in a few minutes.
Cook them al dente, because then we will throw them in a pan with ragù to finish cooking, just a couple of minutes. Serve and, if you like, season with plenty of grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Suggested food pairings
Meat, fats, salty flavors: this dish is the full package experience for your palate, so do not hesitate to pair strong and tannic wines like Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Aglianico.
If you want to pair a cocktail, the Old Fashioned is excellent with ragu!