Ricotta Gnocchi with Pork Ragu



As I write this article, I should be enjoying a nice Friday evening in Madrid. Instead, I'm still in Chicago. Why, you ask? Jury duty. I won't go into details, but when I got picked as a jury member for a trial, my, "But I'm going to Madrid for work this weekend" plea to the judge didn't work. Turns out I got stuck on a 5 day trial, spanning into this week. Madrid has officially been postponed.

Good news is, I made gnocchi. With pork ragu. If they ever ask me to be on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate", this would be my feature (maybe). I think.

inspired by Food52

2 russet potatoes
1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
1 cup ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper

Sub 1 lb pork instead of half beef

Boil potatoes whole for 45 minutes, until a fork slides in very easily. Let cool enough to remove the skin. Cut up in quarters, and pass each piece through a potato ricer into a large mixing bowl. You want the potatoes to be really smooth. If you don't have a ricer, a hand mixer, blender or food processor would do the trick.  Let cool completely. 

Whisk eggs together in a small bowl then add to the potatoes. I used my hands to mix the dough, but you would use your stand mixer as well. Combine eggs and potato into a thick paste.

Mix in the ricotta, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Add in the flour, half at a time. This makes it easier to incorporate. Your dough will be thick and sticky at this point. That's a good thing.

Flour your clean counter, and knead the dough for a few minutes until you feel like you have a nice, cohesive mass.

Cut the dough into 4 pieces, working with 1 quarter at a time. Cut each quarter in half again, and roll it out like a snake. Start working the middle first, and roll your way out so you have an even snake. The snake should be about 1/2 inch thick. Using a bench knife, cut the snake into 1 inch pieces of gnocchi. Repeat on all quarters, setting the gnocchi on a plate while working the rest of the dough.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in 1/3 to 1/2 the gnocchi at a time. They will sink to the bottom at first, and then pop up to the top. Once they pop up, I let them cook for about 2 more minutes. 

Transfer the gnocchi straight to the pork ragu with a slotted spoon (which has been simmering away for an hour!). I even ladle a little bit of the pasta water into the sauce. Once all the gnocchi has cooked, and been transferred to the ragu pan, remove from heat to a serving bowl. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy one of the most satisfying pasta dishes you'll ever have.

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