Gnocchi with Beef Ragu, Kale & Cauliflower

After a luscious meal at a Seattle area restaurant Cuoco, owned by well-known NW Chef Tom Douglas, I had to try and re-create the dish. This was one of those meals where you’re practically licking the plate. Both my lunch partner and I agreed, “to die for”. Here is the re-create, although I can’t say it was as good as Tom’s, it was pretty darn close. I may just require more research here!

I tried making the ragu and serving it over store bought Gnocchi. This was just ok, but didn’t do the dish justice. There is a reason Gnocchi doesn’t seem to be as common in the pasta section. It wasn’t in my freezer section either, but I did find one lone package of Emeril vacuum packed on the shelf. I had more ragu, so of course, found myself on a Sunday making Gnocchi from scratch. It wasn’t that difficult and once I got into the rhythm,  I was basically one little Gnocchi factory and found it to be quite meditative.

Here is how I made the Gnocchi, compliments of Ann Burrell’s cookbook, “How to Cook Like a Rock Star”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIngredients for the Gnocchi

5 large Idaho potatoes
2 eggs
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano
3 to 4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp salt

Directions for making the Gnocchi

Preheat oven to 375 or 400 degrees.
Bake potatoes until they are fork tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
While the potatoes are still hot, peel and pass them through a food mill or rice onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. (Keep potatoes light and fluffy).
If you don’t have a food mill or ricer, just use a fork and lightly work through the potatoes on the side of a dish.
Refrigerate potatoes on sheet tray until cold. (Must be cold to add flour).
When potatoes are absolutely cold, transfer to a clean work surface.
Beat together the eggs and cheese and pour onto potatoes and season with salt.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACover generously with flour. “Snow on the mountains.”
Crumble potato flour mixture between your fingers and knead dough until it is a dry homogenous mixture.
Dough should feel slightly moist, but not tacky. (If too tacky, repeat flouring).
Form dough into a large log.
Cut slices off the log and begin to roll into long ropes that are about 1 inch in thickness.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Cut ropes into 1/2 inch lengths and cover generously with flour.
Place gnocchi in a single layer on a sheet tray dusted with flour. DO NOT PILE.
Use or freeze gnocchi immediately. (If freezing, place directly into the freezer. Once frozen, the gnocchi can be stored in plastic bags in the freezer, indefinitely. When cooking frozen gnocchi, they can go directly from freezer into salted boiling water).

Gnocchi Beef Ragu with Kale & Cauliflower

Gnocchi with Beef Ragu, Kale and Cauliflower
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 beef chuck roast (about 3 pounds)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil for cooking kale/cauliflower
  • 3 medium onions, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled plum tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1 medium cauliflower head (about 3 cups when processed), washed, cored and cut into florets
  • 1 bunch of kale (about ¾ lb), tough stems and ribs removed, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Optional: 1-2 cloves of garlic minced and/or 1 onion, minced, for sautéing the kale
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Season beef all over with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat.
  4. Add beef, and brown on all sides.
  5. Transfer beef to a rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Reduce heat to medium.
  7. Add remaining tablespoon oil to pot.
  8. Add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until edges are browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
  9. Add garlic, oregano, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  10. Cook, stirring, 3 minutes.
  11. Add tomatoes, and crush with spoon.
  12. Stir in wine and red-pepper flakes.
  13. Return beef to pot, and spoon tomato mixture over top.
  14. Cover, and place in oven.
  15. Braise until beef is fork-tender, about 4 hours.
  16. Once the beef is resting and out of the oven, turn your temperature to 425 degrees.
  17. Spread cauliflower on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  18. Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.
  19. Roast for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is caramelized.
  20. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta; add 1 tablespoon salt.
  21. In the meantime, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter.
  22. Add kale, cover with a lid, and cook until almost tender, about 5 minutes. (you can also sauté here with garlic or onion if preferred)
  23. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  24. Keep cauliflower and kale warm until pasta is ready.
  25. When ready and the water is boiling, add fresh or store-bought Gnocchi; cook until al dente then drain.
  26. Plate the Gnocchi in a bowl or on a plate then kale and cauliflower to each serving.
  27. Top with the Beef Ragu and sauce.
Beef Ragu was adapted from Martha Stewart's Beef Ragu Recipe with added elements of Cauliflower and Kale


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