Saturday DinDin

Saturday's are always a pretty big day for us in our quaint little Southern California apartment. Chances are we decide to go out to breakfast - boutique donuts (yes, those do exist), the french bakery, american eggs and bacon (extra bacon on the side please) or a good ole' fashion Cowboy breakfast - if you don't know what that is, clearly you haven't lived. After breakfast I normally ride or vice versa and then I find myself basking in the sun either in our neighbors yard or at the beach nose deep in a book (can you be nose deep on a Kindle?).
For those of you that follow me, you know that we plan our meals out per week. I always try to plan out a big time consuming meal for Saturday. Why? Because I have a lot of time on my hands and normally we are both home. This past Saturday's big food adventure? Homemade Gnocchi & Ragu. Two words: HOLY COW! I made sure I packed my lunch last night so that I could take the left overs, leaving Spence with the soup we had Sunday - which was delicious too - but let's be real, this gnocchi blew the rest of our dinners away. So, I thought it would be only right to share....just to defy the myth about this being a difficult meal to make...not true at all and it also produces a lot. Freezer meal? Check!
I originally found this recipe in a vegetarian cookbook that picked up at Barnes & Noble on sale - then as I was cooking I added my own touch to it (of course):

Gnocchi with Ragu (and mushrooms depending on if you have picky eaters - clearly we do here)

1 1/2 lbs Russet potatoes (normally 2 will do) 
1 large egg
3 cups of flour
Salt, Pepper, and a few dashes of whatever else you deem appropriate

Boil the potatoes for 40 minutes, with the skins on. Once they are done remove and let them cool. Once  they no longer are hot to touch peel the skin off. They suggest a ricer, but, I didn't have one so after a quick little google search I learned that a cheese grater would do the trick. In a large bowl grate the potatoes. In the center of the grated potatoes make a pool, yes...like what you do at Thanksgiving with your mash potatoes for your gravy...place the egg and flour and seasonings in there. Knead with your hands. The dough should be fairly dry - use your best judgement on the consistency. Let the dough hang out on the counter while you get cracking on the Ragu.

Olive Oil (or Coconut Oil) 
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Carrots, finely chopped
2 Celery Stocks, finely chopped 
4 Cloves of Garlic, crushed and chopped
6 ounces tomato paste
10 ounces tomato sauce
3 Cups Red Wine (I used a California Table Wine - AKA CHEAP!) 
1 cube chicken bouillon 

In a large pan heat oil. Add chopped veggies and cook until soft - approximately 5-7 minutes. Then add tomato paste and tomato sauce. Cook for another 5-7 minutes. Add cube of bouillon and 3 cups of wine. Let simmer for around 45 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. In a separate bowl fill it with cold water and ice, set aside.

While the sauce is simmering it is time to get back to the gnocchi. Divide into 5 equal parts - roll out into about 3/4" ropes, then cut into 1" intervals. Drop the gnocchi intervals into the boiling water, cook until then float (hint: I gave them a quick stir in order to make sure they didn't stick to the bottom of the pot). Once they are floating fish them out with a strainer and put immediately into ice bath. I cooked my gnocchi in several different batches, which I highly suggest. Once I had all of the gnocchi in the ice bath I then pour them all in the colander.

Once the sauce it done, I put both the sauce and the freshly made gnocchi in a large mixing bowl (this way all the noodles get covered). Dash with some fresh Parm. I also added some sautéed portobello mushrooms on my dish - they were delicious!

So..the best part about this? This dish made enough food for about 6 meals! I took half of the recipe (prior to mixing the noodles and sauce) and put both in different Tupperware's and put them in the freezer.

Yum. So good!

Sending Love From SoCal!    

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