The first time I made gnocchi was in culinary school with a group of 3 other individuals. We mashed the potatoes, turned them into a dough, and meticulously rolled each gnocchi down the back of a fork to create the lines. After all that work, I was not impressed with the pasta's texture. Years later, I decided to give gnocchi another chance. This time I prepared a goat cheese gnocchi with sugo. Can I say, WOW! Now, this is the dish that I've been waiting for all these years! The gnocchi was exactly what I've been wanting, a fluffy, pillowy pasta coated in a savory sauce with incredibly tender meat. If you've been hesitant about gnocchi as I was, try this dish and it will change your mind in a heartbeat.
Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Sugo
- 5 lb meaty bone-in beef short ribs
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup onions chopped
- ½ cup carrots chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 5 cloves garlic chopped
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 lb fresh goat cheese softened at room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- grated parmesan
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or oven-safe large pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is smoking hot, add the short ribs and sear on all sides until browned and caramelized. Remove from heat and transfer to a baking dish.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add onions, carrots, and celery to the same pot and saute until softened and translucent about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute. Add tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables in the paste. Add red wine and bring to a boil. Add back the short ribs along with the chicken broth, canned tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cover the pot and bake in the oven until short ribs are tender, about 3 hours.
- Meanwhile, prepare the gnocchi. Combine goat cheese, eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl of a stand mixer. Beat just until combined. Add the flour and beat until a soft dough begins to form, adding additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time if needed. Portion the dough into 4 pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- Remove one portion of the dough from the fridge. Dust a clean work counter with flour and roll out the dough into a 1-inch thick rope. Cut the rope into ¾-inch pieces. Transfer the gnocchi onto a lightly floured baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.
- Remove short ribs from the oven when can easily be shredded with a fork. Transfer the short ribs onto a plate and pour the braising liquid as well as the cooked vegetables into a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour the sauce back into the pot and season with salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Return the short ribs to the sauce and keep warm.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi in batches and cook until they start to float to the top about 1-2 minutes. Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon directly into the sugo. Gently toss to combine and portion into 4 bowls. Finish with grated parmesan on top. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Sugo is an Italian meat sauce made from either pork or beef; this recipe uses one of my favorite cuts of meat, short ribs. Take the time to sear all the sides of the short rib to create a beautiful crust.
You can prepare the sugo either on the stovetop, instant pot or in the oven. Once the short ribs are fork-tender, remove them from the braising liquid and set them aside. We're going to blend the remaining liquid to make a sauce. All of the flavor from the beef and vegetables is going to go back into the gnocchi, delicious, right?
Reheat the sauce until simmering and slightly reduced and add the meat back in.
Gnocchi is a type of pasta made from a type of flour, egg, and potato. Many variations, nowadays, replace the potato with other ingredients such as sweet potato, spinach ricotta, and, in this case, goat cheese. When making the dough, add a little bit of flour at a time to avoid adding an excess. The dough should come together and will be soft but still pliable.
Roll out the dough and using a sharp knife, cut it into small pieces. If you have the patience, roll each gnocchi down the back of a fork or a gnocchi paddle if you have one. I rolled half of them down the back of a fork until I decided to just skip it. The gnocchi will be covered in the sauce anyway, no one will see!
As with all fresh pasta, the gnocchi will cook rather quickly. They will float to the top when they are ready.
Top the goat cheese gnocchi with the sugo and freshly grated parmesan and you have a lovely meal! I made this special meal for my birthday and loved every bite of it. The gnocchi is incredibly light, balancing the heavier, flavor-bursting sauce. Hands down, the best gnocchi I've had to date!
For more pasta inspiration check out this ricott ravioli with sausage mushroom and spinach sauce!