Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gnocchi and Homemade Meat Sauce...Mmm, Mmm, Good.

As many of you know, I love pasta. My friends also know I love potatoes. Potato anything. French fries, tater tots, au gratin, baked, or, how about...potato pasta! Gnocchi is one of those items that I never really thought I could make.

So, one cold night back in November, I decided to give these a shot. The recipe, by the infamous Mario Batali, that I based my gnocchi off of is located here:

But, clearly Mr. Bubbe's Kitchen and I needed some protein in our meal. So I decided to jazz up the sauce by adding some beef chuck. Now, I was on the search for some beef short ribs, but since there were none at the grocery store we went to, I settled for beef chuck. This turned out fantastic. I cannot even tell you. Throw a piece of meat into the slow cooker and voila, it becomes super tender and full of love.

So, let's get right to it, shall we?

3 pounds (about 5) russet potatoes
2.25 cups all purpose flour
1 large egg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Basic tomato sauce:
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped in 1/4-inch diced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
+ 1 pound beef chuck for stew (omit this ingredient for a vegetarian option)

    How to do it

    Place the potatoes in a large pot and just cover with cold water. Boil the whole potatoes until they are soft, about 45 minutes. While still warm, peel the potatoes and pass them through a food mill onto a clean pasta board. My own little note: I burnt myself doing this. Be careful. You want the potatoes warm but not HOT to the touch.

    Make a well in the center of the potatoes and sprinkle with the flour. Place the egg and salt in the center of the well and, using a fork, stir the egg into the flour and potatoes.

    Bring the dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed, and continue to knead for another few minutes, until the dough is dry to the touch. I had to add additional flour to make my dough more dry. Cut a tennis-ball sized hunk of dough off the main ball and roll it into a dowel about 3/4-inch thick. Cut across the dowel to form pellets about 1 inch long. Flick each pellet down the tines of a fork to form the traditional gnocchi shape. Repeat with the remaining dough.

    When you are ready to serve the gnocchi, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add salt to the water.

    Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook until floating aggressively, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully transfer the gnocchi to the pan with the sauce, using a slotted spoon. Turn the heat to medium and toss gently for about 30 seconds. Serve immediately with the sauce (recipe below!)

    Gnocci Nutrition:

    Nutrition Facts

    Recipe Serves 6 people

    Amount per Serving
    • Calories 149Calories from Fat 7
    % Daily Value *
    • Total Fat 0.83g1%
    • Saturated Fat 0.25g1%
    • Trans Fat 0.83g
    • Cholesterol 35.83mg12%
    • Sodium 50.83mg2%
    • Potassium 13.13mg0%
    • Total Carbohydrate 29.92g10%
    • Dietary Fiber 2.5g10%
    • Sugars 19.17g
    • Protein 5.46g11%
    • Vitamin C37.5
    • Calcium1.67
    • Iron7.25
    Est. Percent of Calories from:
    Fat 5.0% Carbs 80.3%
    Protein 14.7%

The Sauce!
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the beef; sear it to lock the juices in. Remove the beef, and place it into your slow cooker.

Add the thyme, oregano, basil, and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Move into the slow cooker with the beef, and let cook for about 3-4 hours.
Season with salt, sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese and serve.

Sauce nutrition:
Without meat-

Nutrition Facts

Recipe Serves 6 people

Amount per Serving
  • Calories 99Calories from Fat 11
% Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 1.23g2%
  • Saturated Fat 0.43g2%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0.42g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.09g
  • Cholesterol 1.67mg1%
  • Sodium 715.67mg30%
  • Potassium 27.23mg1%
  • Total Carbohydrate 19.63g7%
  • Dietary Fiber 4.63g19%
  • Sugars 11.29g
  • Protein 5.29g11%
  • Vitamin A19.42
  • Vitamin C34.77
  • Calcium3.84
  • Iron13.13
  • Vitamin E0.06
  • Niacin (B3)0.03
  • Vitamin B60.2
  • Phosphorus0.94
  • Magnesium0.65
  • Panthothenic Acid0.01
  • Zinc0.07
  • Manganese0.01
Est. Percent of Calories from:
Fat 11.2% Carbs 79.3%
Protein 21.4%
With meat-
Add approximately 130 calories per serving, 6g of fat, 19g protein.

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