Gnocchi with Sausage Fennel Ragù
Is it cheating to post a recipe that didn’t end up in our bellies? The ragù was delicious, but my gnocchi went from mashed potatoes to mashed potatoes. After all of that work and it ended up in the trash, I won’t share my reaction to the results, but there were almost tears and some stomping feet, a 31 year old temper tantrum. My mistakes were simple, I did not need to listen to my husband and toss all of the gnocchi into the boiling water and the moment they floated to the top I needed to scoop them out, they were in the pot for 20 seconds too long and turned to mush. If there is a next time, I will make sure to do things differently.
Honestly I don’t love gnocchi, they are a tradition in Rome and only served on Thursdays in the restaurants. It can be hit or miss, depending on the restaurant, they can be fluffy clouds in your mouth or paper weights. It depends on where you go, but you should only order gnocchi at a restaurant on Thursdays, it is the only day that they are fresh, most Roman restaurants won’t feature them on the menu if it is not Thursday, if they do, you should look for another place to eat.
Gnocchi from Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano
- 3 lbs russet potatoes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 extra-large egg
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ cup canola oil
Put potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook at a low boil until the potatoes are tender; about 45 minutes: drain.
While they are still warm, peel the potatoes, then pass them through a vegetable mill onto a clean work surface.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 1 tbsp salt. Set up an ice bath nearby. Make a well in the center of the potatoes, and sprinkle them all over with the flour. Break the egg into the center of the well, add the salt, and, using a fork, blend the egg and salt together. Using the fork, begin to incorporate the flour and potatoes as if you were making pasta. Once the dough begins to come together, begin kneading it gently until it forms a ball. Knead gently for another 4 minutes, or until the dough is dry to the touch.
Divide the dough into 6 balls. Roll one ball into a rope ¾ inch in diameter, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece down the back of a fork to create the characteristic ridges. Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook until they float to the surface, about 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the gnocchi to the ice bath. Repeat with the remaining dough, replenishing the ice as necessary.
When all the gnocchi have been cooked and cooled in the ice bath, drain them and transfer to a bowl. Toss with the oil. the gnocchi can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
Sausage and Fennel Ragù from Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano
- 2 lbs Italian Sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds, toasted and finely ground
- 1 tbsp hot red pepper flakes
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 rib celery, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I skipped the garlic)
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- freshly grated pecorino romano
In a heavy-bottomed 10- to 12-inch sautè pan, cook the sausage over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate. Add the fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, onion, fennel, carrot, celery and garlic to the pan and cook until the vegetables are well browned, about 10 minutes.
Return the sausage to the pan, add the tomato sauce, and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the vegetables are very tender and the sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 2 tbsp salt. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water, and cook until they float to the top. Drain. (If you have made more gnocchi than you will eat, only cook the gnocchi that you will eat, do not drain in a strainer, but remove with a slotted spoon.)
Add the gnocchi to the pan with the sauce, return to medium-high heat, and toss gently for about 1 minute to coat. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl, top with pecorino, and serve immediately.