Reader's Recipes; Ricotta Gnocchi and Orecchiette w/ Sausage, Tomato and Spinach

Submitted by Kim Dec at

Basic Ricotta Gnocchi

1 lb whole milk ricotta

1/2 cup fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 to 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 large egg, beaten slightly in small bowl

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, except 1/2 cup of the flour. Mix together with hands until it forms a ball. Put dough on a wooden board and sprinkle with the remaining flour, and knead until no longer sticky.

Break out into small balls, about a handful. Roll into strips, and cut into 1-inch pieces, then roll with thumb on gnocchi board (optional).

Sprinkle with flour and spread onto a platter until ready to boil.

Cook in boiling water until floating, which doesn’t take long.

Freezing option: These freeze well if tossed with lots of flour and stored in a large freezer bag for up to 2 months.

Bolognese Sauce

Mirepoix (equal amounts of celery, onion and carrot, amounting to about 2 cups total)

5 garlic Dorot cubes

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 pound pancetta or slab bacon, ground by butcher or thinly sliced

and pulsed in food processor until finely chopped (I used bacon)

2 lbs meatloaf mix (ground pork, veal, beef)

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 cup whole milk

1 cup dry white wine (pinot grigio used here)

1 cup water

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

2-3 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cook onions, celery, carrot, and garlic in oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Add bacon and meatloaf mix and cook over moderately high heat, stirring and breaking up lumps until no longer pink, about 6 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste, milk, wine, water and thyme and gently simmer, covered, until sauce is thickened, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Sauce may be made 2 days ahead and cooled, uncovered. Then chill the sauce covered. Frozen, it keeps for 1 month.

Wine Pairing for Gnocchi Bolognese:

Castillo de Feria – Tempranillo (Spain)

Montebuea -Rioja – Red Table Wine (Spain)

Muga – Rioja Reseerve (Spain)

Villa Antinori Riserva – Chianti (Italy)

Orecchiette w/ Sausage, Tomato and Spinach

2 links of Italian sausage (I used a turkey version)

1 can peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped

3 tbsp butter

A handful of baby spinach

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 TB oregano

1 lb or so of dried orecchiette

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

Freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Melt the butter in a deep skillet on med high, with a little olive oil. Remove the casing from the sausage and brown the sausage and crumble in the pan. Add onion and garlic and cook until transluscent,

about 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the pasta water and cook pasta to package instructions. Mine took 12 mins.

Add tomatoes, spinach, and oregano to pan and season with salt and pepper to taste.

The tomatoes will form a nice base in this sauce. When the pasta is done, drain and add to pan. Mix well and serve. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Wine pairings: Depending upon your sausage (hot Italian vs sweet) your wine selection will change. A fruit-forward wine, like a red zinfandel or maybe a Shiraz could work. I recommend any of the following wines:

Santa Cristina – Sangiovese (Italy)

VA LA – Barbara – (Pennsylvania)

Geyser Peak – Merlot (California)

Chateau St Jean – Merlot (California)

Frei Brothers – Merlot (California)


*Wine pairing suggestions offered by Steve O’Connor.

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