Guest post & recipe by Amy of StreamingGourmet.com!
You may associate the word Ragù with the American company that makes the spaghetti sauce available at most supermarkets, but Ragù is also an Italian term for slowly stewed meat sauce served over pasta. There are many varieties of Ragù, but they all have a few things in common: the sauce starts with what the French would call a mirepoix, but the Italians call a soffritto - a mixture of onions, carrots and celery (and sometimes garlic) that is sautéed gently before adding in the meat.
Gnocchi is the perfect pasta to go with a hearty, meat Ragù, because the sauce magically sticks to its shape. Ragù alla Bolognese (from Bologna) is one of the most popular Ragù sauces in America. When made properly, it contains ground meat, is really thick, only has a hint of tomato, and uses barely any herbs. It is often thickened with heavy cream at the end of the cooking process. The Ragù sauces featured below are similar, in that they use ground meats (rather than chopped) and they thicken during the cooking process, but I’ve made the tomatoes and the herbs more forward than in a traditional Bolognese.
Great with gnocchi, these sauces also pair well with papardelle or penne.
Keep reading for the recipe for Gnocchi with Veal, Pork & Rosemary Ragù, and get a recipe for Gnocchi with Beef Basil Ragù here!
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom, large stockpot, over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Sauté gently to soften, for about 8 minutes. Stir periodically. Add the garlic halfway through. Make sure the mixture does not brown.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the pancetta, and stir. Add the ground pork and ground veal, breaking up the meat with a spoon. Keep breaking it up and stirring so that it can all brown evenly. This process will take at least 10 minutes.
Once the meat is totally browned, add white wine and stir. Bring back to a boil and simmer until wine has almost completely evaporated.
Add the tomatoes and crush them with the back of a spoon while you’re stirring and combining. Make sure all of the tomatoes are crushed. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Now you can reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for at least one, but hopefully several, hours. Keep chicken stock on hand to add 1/2 cup at a time to prevent the sauce from scalding. About 30 minutes before the end, add the 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary and stir. This is a good time to boil the water for the gnocchi.
To cook the gnocchi, bring salted water to boil in a large stockpot. Add the gnocchi and boil for 2-3 minutes or until the gnocchi float to the top. Drain in a colander.
Now we’re going to take an extra step to add even more flavor to the gnocchi: in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter, add a tablespoon of fresh rosemary and sauté until fragrant (this releases the oils inside the herb). Now add the gnocchi and arrange in a single layer, tossing to coat with the butter/herb mixture. Sauté and flip until they turn golden brown.
To plate, add 1 cup gnocchi to a bowl and then spoon a cup or so of the sauce on top. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and serve with Parmesan cheese.