RISE AND SHINE KAUT43 OKC
It’s been a rainy week here in OKC and my inner caveman is craving something “substantial”... Like gnocchi "substantial". Gnocchi on its own (basically small dumplings made with either potato or ricotta cheese) makes a fantastic meal. It’s a simple and easy dough, rolled, cut, and formed either using a classic Italian gnocchi board, the tines of a dinner fork, or even nothing at all. Once poached they may be sautéed in a little butter to “crisp” then up a bit, or added to any favorite sauce or dish fresh from the pot.
Now when it comes to a Ragù (if Italian) or Ragôut (if French) the two different spellings are not the only difference. In a French Ragôut the dish is considered a style of stew, with or without meat, that is hearty and cooked slowly over a long period of time. Intense flavors of the stew and a reduction of its ingredients make a delicious meal. The Italian ragù is a sauce for pasta, typically always with meat. More fmiliure ragù for us are Bolognese and Neapolitan, and what we simply refer to as "meat sauce".
So knock this out any time you’re looking for a "substantial" meal… and the best part of “knocking this out”? The ragu and the gnocchi can be made ahead of time; even like days ahead of time. Cook the ragu, cool and store in the fridge, then reheat when ready to use. The gnocchi may be made and even frozen! Simply thaw (if frozen) and cook in your simmering salted water when ready to enjoy!
Oh, and one other thing… please please please have plenty of wine to wash it all down with!
Serves 5-6 people
For The Gnocchi
2 Russet potatoes (about a pound), Roasted skin on
1/2 cup (4 ounces) freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
2 large egg yolks, beaten
1/2 teaspoon In The Kitchen With Scotty “Salt-Free Cornbread Dressing Blend” or substitute 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and a pinch of rubbed sage
1/4 cup Semolina flour (pasta flour)
3/4 cup All Purpose flour
Chopped flat leaf parsley or minced chive for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 400-degrees. On a large enough sheet of aluminum foil to wrap your potatoes in, sprinkle the bottom with a generous amount of Kosher salt. Place the two russet potatoes on top, fold over the sides and top of the foil, and seal in your spuds. Place in the oven and roast approximately 1 hour until fork tender.
- Remove the potatoes from the foil and place them on a cutting board to cool off enough to handle... approximately 5 minutes. With a paring knife gently peel off the skin. Using a potato ricer, or pressing through a strainer, rice the potatoes into a mound. Add the grated parmesan and gently toss, then pile it all into a mound. Make a well in the mound and add the beaten egg yolks. Add the Cornbread Dressing Blend and Cook’s Line Seasoning to the well. Gently blend the eggs into the potatoes and combine into a loose ball. Next, combine the semolina flour and AP flour together in a bowl. If you are unable to use semolina you may use 1 full cup of AP flour instead of the 3/4 cup. Sprinkle the top with a little flour and gently work the potato ball as you would a dough ball. Keep adding flour until you have a smooth ball of dough.
- Quarter or cut the dough ball into eighths, depending on your work surface. Roll the pieces on a floured surface into a rope. Begin cutting off small pillow sized pieces for your gnocchi.
- With a traditional gnocchi board, or using the tines of a dinner fork, roll the piece of gnocchi down the grooves/fork tines for the classic gnocchi look. Lay your gnocchi on a lightly floured pan and cover until all the gnocchi has been made.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in batches of your gnocchi, careful not to crowd the pot. Once the gnocchi floats to the surface they're ready!
- You may either add the cooked gnocchi directly to a hot buttered sauté pan, and sauté gently until golden brown, or you may add the cooked gnocchi directly to the hot ragu sauce. In both cases do not over work and stir the gnocchi, else it turns into clumpy balls of dumplings. Just let it do its thing, and all will be well in the gnocchi world.
For The Beef Ragu (Best if made the night before)
2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil for searing and sauté
1 1/2- 2-pound beef chuck
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced (about a cup)
1 cup diced celery
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
2 stems fresh rosemary
3 bay leaf
1 cup unsalted beef stock
1 cup red wine (full bodied)
28 ounces crushed red tomatoes
- Trim any excess fat from your chuck roast, Break it down into equal portions, and pat dry. Sprinkle each piece, top to bottom, with the Roast Beast Seasoning.
- In a dutch oven or large pot with a lid, begin heating three tablespoons of Olive Oil until it begins to shimmer. Gently lay the pieces of seasoned chuck roast and sear on all sides until caramelized. Remove from the pan.
- Time to add the Soffritto (The Italian Mirepoix): With the pan and reserve oil still hot, add your diced carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and fresh herbs. Sauté until the onions are tender. Pour in the red wine and beef stock, bring the soffrito to a simmer, and slowly reduce for 15 minutes.
- Gently lay in your seared chuck roast. Pour the can of crushed tomatoes over the roast, and gently move everything in the pot around to be sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.
- Place in a preheated 300-degree oven, covered, and cook for approximately 2 1/2 hours or until tender enough to shred. Remove the pot from the oven and place on the stove top.
- Shred the meat with two forks and gently simmer on the stove top for 25-30 minutes.
Ready to Serve:
Add the cooked gnocchi straight from the water to the pot of simmering ragout. Gently mix around just enough to coat the gnocchi. Dish up the gnocchi and ragout into individual bowls. Grate a little extra parmesan cheese on top, with a sprinkle of finely minced parsley or minced chive. Serve to up with a smile!