Thursday 17 September 2020

Gnocchi Bolognese Bake


Gnocchi Bolognese Bake

  • 500g minced beef
  • 600g potato gnocchi
  • 200g grated mozzarella
  • 200g diced lardons
  • Handful of small mozzarella balls (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves,  minced
  • 400g Tom chopped tomatoes
  • 2-3 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Few glugs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful of basil, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large pan, add the lardons and fry until browned, add the garlic and fry for another minute or so (do not let it burn) then add the minced beef, break up the mince with a spoon and keep stirring until browned (if you don’t break up the mice you will get clumps!).  Once the meat is browned, drain off any excess fat then add your Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée and a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper, stir through and then add your chopped tomatoes, add some water to the can and swirl round and tip into the pan just to make sure you get it all and to add an extra amount of liquid as you don’t want the sauce to be too dry, stir through and leave to simmer for at least 30 minutes (longer if you have the time). 

Once your Bolognese is made, bring another pan of salted water to the boil and cook the gnocchi according to packet instructions, this is usually 4 minutes.  Drain the gnocchi and tip into a large oven proof dish, add the Bolognese and the basil and stir until the gnocchi is evenly coated, top with the grated mozzarella and the mozzarella balls (if you like it really cheesy) and place into a preheated oven (180 degrees) and cook until the cheese is nicely melted and gooey. 

If you haven’t tried potato gnocchi before you will be in for a surprise, they are not heavy, in fact they are quite light and fluffy so this isn’t a stodgy dish.  You will generally find gnocchi with the fresh pasta in the supermarket.  You will get at least 6 good sized portions from this recipe, any that you don’t eat will keep in the fridge for a couple of days or alternatively freeze any leftovers.

This is a good cost effective recipe which will provide several meals depending on how many you are cooking for, you can pep up the flavour with some chilli flakes or add mushrooms or any other ingredients you may put into your Bolognese.  If pushed for time or on more of a budget you could simply add a jar of ready made sauce to the gnocchi. 

Mark’s top tip:  As basil can bruise very easily and go a bit discoloured looking, always chop it just before using in order to keep that vibrant green colour.  Place the basil leaves on top of each other, roll up into a small cigarette shape and thinly slice from the end using a sharp knife.

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