Squash Gnocchi with Meat Sauce

See the RecipePaolo Destefanis

Anna Maria Lesizza of the frasca Al Copari in Craoretto cooks the meat and tomatoes for her ragu separately, so that the fat from the meat does not end up in the sauce.

Squash Gnocchi with Meat Sauce
For this recipe, it is best to cook the meat and tomatoes separately so that the fat from the meat does not get into the sauce.
Yield: serves 4-6

For the Meat Sauce

  • 12 lb. ground beef
  • 12 lb. ground pork
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 (28-oz.) can peeled whole plum tomatoes, chopped

For the Gnocchi

  • 1 small butternut squash, quartered lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt
  • 1 cup flour

Instructions

  1. For the meat sauce: Brown beef and pork in 1 tbsp. of the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, using the back of a wooden spoon to break meat up. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, cook onions in remaining 1 tbsp. oil in another medium skillet over medium heat until soft and golden, about 20 minutes, then stir in tomatoes and their juices. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens. Drain fat from meat, then add meat to tomato sauce. Adjust seasoning, then set aside.
  2. For the gnocchi: Preheat oven to 350°. Put squash in a baking pan, cover with foil, and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and, when cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into a strainer, then press out as much liquid as you can. Transfer to a large bowl, add eggs, and mash together with a potato masher. Season to taste with salt, then work in flour to form a thick, soft dough.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Using 2 tablespoons (1 to scoop, the other to push batter off spoon), drop spoonfuls of batter into water. (If gnocchi fall apart, skim pieces out of water, add a little flour to batter, and try again.) Cook until gnocchi have risen to surface and simmered for 1-2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a warm platter. Continue until all batter has been used. Spoon warm sauce over gnocchi.