This cheesy gnocchi bolognese bake is pure winter comfort food and combines two Italian favourites: pillowy bites of potato gnocchi and a rich Bolognese ragu. While it may look a bit rustic, this totally delivers in flavour!
Traditional Bolognese sauce: takes a long time to cook and when I visited Bologna in Italy a few years ago I realised that the version of Bolognese sauce that we make using spaghetti is not like the original Bolognese which is served with tagliatelle. Traditional Bolognese sauce doesn't include a tin of tomatoes or passata and is mainly flavoured using beef stock that is slow cooked for several hours. It's a hearty, rich sauce and the tagliatelle grabs it better than the thinner spaghetti.
Gnocchi: You can make your own gnocchi from scratch to which I have a wonderful homemade gnocchi recipe from Nonna Francesca here. Or you can buy your gnocchi.
If you want to make this easier, you can also skip the baking stage and just serve with parmesan cheese at the table but I have a weakness for melted cheese so I never skip this step!
I was talking to my friend Laura recently about her new boyfriend and she was talking about her love language. She knew that it was a different relationship from the other guys because she was demonstrating her love language. Love language means how you show people that you love or care for them.
For Laura, her love language is active service. For example, she does things like she comes over to curl my hair before we go out and thinks ahead to what I may need when we go on our adventures. I asked Mr NQN what he was and his is supporting people in their endeavours. My love language is cooking. I am always cooking for people that I love. And if I really like you, I might make something like this gnocchi Bolognese!
So tell me Dear Reader, what is your love language aka how do you show people you care about them?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Gnocchi Bolognese Bake
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 4 readers
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
- 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 carrots, cut into rough chunks
- 2 sticks celery, cut into rough chunks
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 50ml/1.7flozs olive oil
- 500g/1.1lbs beef mince
- 100g/3.5ozs speck or pancetta, cut into cubes
- 150ml/5flozs/ beef stock
- 125ml/4flozs. red wine
- 2 beef stock cubes extra
- 400ml/14ozs diced tomatoes
- 125ml/4ozs. tomato paste
- To season: salt, pepper and sugar
- 350g/12ozs. gnocchi
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup/25g/1oz. parmesan cheese
Step 1 - Add half of the oil to a large pot and saute the onion, carrots, celery and garlic on medium high heat. Add the beef (breaking it up), speck or pancetta cubes, stock, red wine, crumbled stock cubes, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for 30 minutes until beef is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
Step 2 - Season with salt and pepper and a teaspoon of sugar (taste to see how much sugar you need, it depends on how sweet the tinned tomatoes are).
Step 3 - Preheat oven to 190C/374F. Cook the gnocchi in plenty of salted, boiling water. When they float to the top (it only takes a few minutes) drain well and add to the Bolognese mixture and stir gently to coat. Place in an oven proof dish and sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden on top. Serve while hot so that the cheese is still melty.