Straight forward comfort food here.  This recipe is all about a hot delicious food on a cold day.  You only a few ingredients to make this dish a big hit.  Potatoes which are cheap, ground veal (or beef), veal or beef broth, tomatoes and parmesan.  That is basically the recipe.  Gnocchi is a pretty easy thing to make even though the sound of it could be intimidating, I can assure you that it is not.  Just like anything in the kitchen it takes a little love and time.  This recipe is one that I love to eat in Malibu at local italian restaurant that really makes this dish great!  With that here is my rendition of that dish. 

4 medium size russet potatoes (2 lb)

1 egg

1 1/2-2 cups of flour

salt and pepper to taste


2 lb of ground veal

1 small onion small diced

4 garlic cloves minced

1 tsp of crushed red pepper

2 tsp of fennel seeds

1 cup of red wine

6 cups of veal stock (beef)

26 oz of pomi chopped tomatoes pureed

3 tbsp of each chopped parsley and basil

2 tbsp of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Parmesan and basil to garnish


For the gnocchi,

Get a steamer prepared by getting a stock pot with water and an insert ready.  You can either steam the potatoes whole with the skin and peel after they are cook or I like to peel them and chop them into medium size pieces.  It cooks faster and easier to put them in the ricer when they are cooked.  Place the potatoes in the steamer and put the lid on top. Cook the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes until they are just done.  Then take the lid off and let them dry out for 3-5 minutes.  Then place the potatoes in a food mill or ricer, and rice them into a mixing bowl.  You can let potatoes cool slightly if they are too hot to work with.  Then make a well in the middle of the potatoes.  Then take a cup of the flour and pour around the outside of riced potatoes.  Crack the egg into the middle of the potatoes.  Then with a fork mix the egg into the potatoes working from the middle then slowly working your way out into the flour.  Once the dough starts to form get rid of the fork and use your hands.  You want incorporate the flour until a smooth dough forms but you don't want to knead or over work it.  You might need more flour if the dough is too sticky.  Once the dough has formed you can cut the dough into 5 slices using a dough cutter or knife.  The take each slice and roll with your finger into a rope.  You might need to add a little flour if the dough is too sticky.  Once a uniform rope of dough has been achieved cut into uniform bites.  Then using a gnocchi paddle (board) roll the gnocchi by flicking them into a lightly floured sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  


For the Sauce

In a large pan on medium high heat add oil, chili flakes, and onions.  Cook for 2 minutes and then add garlic, fennel seeds, and ground veal.  Season the meat with salt and pepper aggressively.  Cook for 10 minutes and then deglaze with red wine.  Reduce the wine until there is just a hint left.  Then add the veal stock.  And cook for 5 minutes.  Take the box of pomi chopped tomatoes and with a hand blender puree so it is fairly smooth.  Then pour the tomatoes into the sauce.  Season with a touch more salt and pepper and cover for 20 minutes. Finish the sauce with parsley and basil and then keep warm.  

Meanwhile have a pot of salted water boil for the gnocchi.  Place the gnocchi in the water and cook until they start to float to the top (about 3 minutes)  Then strain and place into the pan with the veal sauce.  Adjust the season with salt and pepper.  Then place in a bowl and shave parmesan and fresh basil leaves.  Serve and enjoy!