Recipe of the Week: Fresh, Home Made Gnocchi with Meat Sauce from Trattoria Toscana


 

Taste the Amazing Difference that Freshly Made Gnocchi Makes

Written by Cathryn McKee

I dropped in to visit Pietro Cinus, owner and Chef of Trattoria Toscana in Temecula. Pietro was busy in his kitchen preparing the Gnnochi that he hand makes everyday. I asked if I could watch, and he was all smiles. As everyone should know, this is my absolute favorite restaurant… period.

Chef Pietro prepares his dishes with care and passion, attending to every detail. He makes the pasta and bread from scratch each day. He roll his fresh tortelloni and ravioli by hand. His gnocchi is made in house with potatoes and imported pecorino cheese, using his mother’s recipe.

What you’ll need:

Kosher salt

1 pound russet potatoes

1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting board and dough

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Do not peel potatoes. The skins must stay on to get the proper texture.Add to the pot and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes.

 

 

 

Drain and peel the potatoes while still hot. Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer or grate them on the large holes. Do not use a potato masher. Now, the fun part…Combine the grated potato, flour and eggs in a mixing bowl. Knead the mixture until a ball of dough forms. Continue shaping until you get what looks like a large loaf.

Cut, shape and roll small portions of the dough to form long “noodles” On a floured surface, cut these noodles into half-inch pieces. Drop these pieces immediately into a large pot of boiling lightly salted water. Cook the gnocchi for 3 to 5 minutes or until gnocchi have risen to the top. Drain and get ready to serve.

 

The Gnocchi can be tossed with any of your favorite pasta sauces. The gnocchi are delicious with just butter, cheese and salt. Pietro made mine with an absolutely incredible, “to die for” meat sauce.

 

 

Sauce

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 pounds lean ground chuck

1 medium yellow onion, diced small

3 carrots, shredded

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper

6 large poached tomatoes, pureed in a blender

1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)

Heat the oil over high in a large heavy pot. Add the meat and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until it begins to brown. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic and cook until the meat is browned and onion is soft. Add tomato puree, and bring to a rapid simmer and then reduce the heat. Add and toss the Gnocchi and enjoy. Add Cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

Chef Pietro reminds everyone to use only fresh, natural ingredients to create your exquisite meals. If you haven’t already, I suggest you stop by for lunch or dinner sometime. Here’s his website for more information.

Photos by Charles McKee

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