A heavy pot, a steady low temperature and a long simmer will produce the best ragù. Here, the addition of a little butter at the end of cooking gives the sauce a decadent finish. This ragù is also excellent tossed with pappardelle or rigatoni.
Gnocchi with Beef Ragù
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 3 oz. (90 g) bacon, finely chopped
- 2 lb. (1 kg) lean ground beef
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbs. tomato paste
- 1 can (28 oz./975 g) crushed tomatoes
- 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) red wine
- 3 cups (24 fl. oz./750 ml) chicken broth
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 lb. (500 g) gnocchi
- Basil leaves for garnish (optional)
- Grated Parmesan cheese for serving
1. In a 5-quart (5-l) Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the bacon and ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is cooked through and browned bits stick to the bottom of the pot, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl. Pour off all but about 3 Tbs. of the fat from the pot.
2. Place the pot over medium heat, add the onion, garlic, bay leaf and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir well. Add the tomatoes and wine, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Add the broth and bring to a gentle simmer.
3. Return the meat to the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the sauce is reduced and richly flavored, about 30 minutes. Stir in the butter and season with salt and black pepper.
4. Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi according to the package instructions.
5. Spoon the ragù over the gnocchi and garnish with basil leaves. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
The Dutch Oven Cookbook covers everything you need to know about making the most of this indispensable kitchen workhorse with 25 easy-to-follow recipes.