I recently did an Italian pop-up in Portland, and the undisputed star of the show was my gnocchi tossed in a tocco di carne sauce with shaved parmesan and drizzled with Paniole, a beautiful extra virgin olive oil from the Ciacci family, owners of the great Brunello estate Mocali. It’s a dish I absolutely love, but rarely if ever, make at home. It’s not that it isn’t memorable, or even ridiculously easy to make and simply addictive, it’s just that I cook a wide repertoire of food at home and dishes get lost and forgotten.
My six year old Beau constantly hounds me to cook circle pasta, his name for gnocchi. Beau’s love for all things Italian (and red) emerged from during his “red” phase prompted when my friend Marco Cameli, perhaps the best pasta cook I have personally met, visited from Italy several years ago. Marco was trying out to be my sous chef at a failed restaurant in southern california and stayed with my family for a week. Every night we cooked dinner together and I begged Marco to cook a pasta course, little Beau and I joyously ate plates of bucatini all’Amatriciana, spaghetti in simple tomato sauces and perhaps the absolutely best Carbonara of my life.
Try these feather light gnocchi tossed in a rich sauce made from pork, veal and dried porcinis this weekend. If you are lazy, like I am on work nights, use a premade gnocchi or even a heartier pasta shape like bucatini. This sauce freezes well and makes for quick and easy dinners.
- 1 ounce dried porcini, soaked 30 minutes in warm water, reserve
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 sweet onion
- 1 rib celery, chopped finely
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped finely
- 3 cloves garlic, mashed
- ½ # ground pork
- ½ # ground veal
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 4 cups tomato sauce (see recipe here)
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 packages gnocchi or make your own!
- Heat olive oil in heavy gauged sauce pot. and saute onion,
celeryand carrots, tilltender, about five minutes.
- Add garlic and continue cooking till smell fills
- Add ground pork and veal, and
- Strain out
porcinis; add chopped porcini and strained mushroom liquor.
- Add white wine and chicken stock, and reduce by half, about ten minutes.
- Add tomato sauce, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning and your sauce is ready.
- To finish:
- Either make your own gnocchi (many recipes online) or buy store bought. Drop gnocchi into a large pot of boiling water and cook till they float. Skim out of
pot, and toss inolive oil and sea salt. In a separate pan, heat your toccodi carnesauce till hot. When simmering happily on the stove, add your cooked gnocchi and toss well. Add a small handful of grated parmesan and a drizzle of Panioleolive oil, or another finishing oil. Let sit for a few minutes while the gnocchi or pasta soaks up the beautiful sauce, adjust seasonings and plate up. I like to sprinkle a bit ofground espelettepeppers over.