Home Page

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Gnocchi with Meat Sauce

So... what do you get when you assign 9 men the task of whipping up a fabulous dinner for 18 people? You get a fabulous dinner.... and a very very messy kitchen!

We had 18 people for dinner and a party on the weekend and to make things fun, we had the men do ALL the cooking. They had to pick the recipes, bring the ingredients and do all the preparation at my house (without any help from the girls).

The primary objective of this exercise was to allow us girls to stand off to the side with our drinks and laugh at their ineptitude. But unfortunately they all turned out to be modern men who know their way around a kitchen, and aside from a "plastic wrap injury", there are really no major casualties, and no major flops to report.

It was a great party, although I am not sure my neighbours would agree. One of the guys who shall remain nameless (it was Roger) kicked a soccer ball and hit their window. They moved in just a few days ago, way to make a great first impression, huh?

I will be posting everyone's photos and recipes (in no particular order) over the next week or so. I am going to start with Roger's Gnocchi recipe, because I think he was most excited to see his recipe in print. Roger did everything by "feel" and didn't really have amounts to give me, so I watched him fairly closely and made the gnocchi again myself a few nights later so that I could measure the amounts (and use up all the extra sauce).

The sauce was prepared by Mario (yes my Mario - just because I don't normally let him near the kitchen, doesn't mean he can't cook!!)

made by Roger (Ladies... he is single, and he cooks!)

6 medium size russet potatoes (about 750g)
1 egg
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp butter
2-3 handfuls of flour (I used just a little over 1 cup)

1. Boil the potatoes in the skin until soft, but not falling apart.

2. While still warm, peel the skin off the potatoes.

3. Mash the potatoes (preferable with a potato ricer). No lumps please.

4. Add egg and butter. Begin adding flour, a handful at a time until the mixture forms a soft dough that can be worked, but is not sticky.

5. Divide into 4 smaller balls and roll out on a floured surface into a 1" diameter log. Cut into 1" sections (these will look like little pillows). Cover with a tea towel and let sit.

(Don't let those doughy hands keep you from your beer!)

6. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add salt. Drop gnocchi in batches into the water. Cook until they float (about 2-3 minutes). Scoop out and add next batch. Serve warm with meat sauce (recipe to follow).

Meat Sauce
made by Mario (not single, so don't even think about it!)

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
6 oz pancetta, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 large stalk celery, diced
1 1/2 cup dry red wine
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cups (approx) beef broth
salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute Pancetta with onions, carrots, and celery. When the onions are almost cooked, add the beef. Cook until beef is no longer pink.

2. Add the wine and simmer until mostly reduced. Add the tomatoes and about half of the beef broth.

3. Simmer for about 2 hours, adding more broth if the sauce is starting to dry out. Salt and pepper to taste.