When I saw the idea for this recipe in the latest Donna Hay (iPad app), I knew I had to make it. What could be better in Winter than digging into a bowl of perfectly cooked gnocchi drenched in a rich pork ragu? Not much, I have to be honest. Add a bottle of red wine and a crackling fire and you have the perfect Winter’s evening in my opinion.
I wanted to use Donna’s idea but wanted to give the recipe my own spin, so for the original, please get your hands on a copy of the latest Donna Hay or download it onto your iPad.
I chose to use pork leg and braised it in the oven with red onions, garlic, tinned tomatoes, vegetable stock and a bit of soy sauce. The soy might sound strange but I love the ability it has to bring out the meatiness in food. I also love that it turns the braising liquid into a deep, rich red, begging to be eaten.
The gnocchi is really incredibly simple to make and I often do it in steps over the span of the day so that I don’t feel completely overwhelmed by doing it all at once. I like to roast the potatoes whole until the skins have darkened slightly and are really crispy. I then scoop out the flesh and mash it with the roasted garlic before adding the rest of the ingredients to form a soft dough. The roasted garlic isn’t an overpowering flavour in the gnocchi, it just adds a hum of garlic which is quite welcome actually.
While eating this, I found myself “mmm“-ing more than usual. Meaty, juicy, soft and delicious are all word that were used to describe this dish and they are all spot on. I urge you to give this a try over the weekend and I dare you to only stop at one bowl. It’s almost impossible. You’ve been warned.
1kg (2.2 pounds) de-boned pork leg
2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1x 400g (14.11 ounces) tin tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole
2 tbsp NoMU All Purpose rub or roasting spice of your choice
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
for the gnocchi
1 kg (2.2 pounds) baking/fluffy potatoes
1 garlic head, roasted
2 egg yolks
1-1.5 cups flour
salt to taste
- To make the pork ragu, pre-heat the oven to 160°c.
- Place the pork, onions, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, soy sauce, spices, sugar and salt & pepper into a roasting dish with a lid. Add a tin of water (use the tomato tin) and cover.
- Place in the oven and allow to roast for 3-4 hours until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily.
- In the meantime, make the gnocchi.
- Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour until a skewer is easily inserted.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Halve the potatoes and scoop the flesh into a bowl.
- Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin and place into the bowl with the potatoes. Using a potato masher/fork, mash until there are no lumps.
- Add the egg yolks and mix well.
- Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time and mix in gently, you don’t want to over-work the dough. I only needed 1.5 cups of flour for my gnocchi but some mixtures might need a bit more. It’s best to make sure your potatoes are quite dry before adding the flour though as the more flour you add, the tougher your gnocchi will be.
- When you’ve added enough flour to result in a soft dough, break tennis ball sized pieces off of the dough and roll into long strips on a floured surface. cut the strip into 1cm (0.39 inches) gnocchis and place on a floured tray until you are ready to cook them. If you like, you can also use a fork to make indents in the gnocchi which create little spaces to suck up more of the ragu sauce.
- When the pork is cooked and soft, remove from the oven. Turn the heat up to 220°c. Shred the pork with two forks and place back in the sauce. Adjust the seasoning of the sauce if needed. Place the ragu back in the oven and allow to continue cooking until you’re ready to serve it with the gnocchi.
- To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and drop the gnocchi in carefully. When they float to the surface they are ready. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place straight into the ragu.
- Serve immediately.