After our wonderful, busy, fun-filled trip to Los Angeles, of course J. and I came home and both got sick. After eating out the entire trip, we craved homemade comfort food and nothing seemed more comforting than a hearty bowl of pasta. With a pack of frozen ground beef calling to me in my freezer, a bolognese seemed like the perfect choice. And you can never go wrong pairing that with a rich, soft gnocchi.
- 1 container pre-packaged gnocchi (I used Alessi Potato Gnocchi)
- 8 oz ground beef
- 1 carrot
- 1 TBSP minced garlic
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 sweet onion
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 1 TBSP chili powder
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 tsp chicken stock concentrate
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
- 2 TBSP finely chopped basil (optional)
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
Peel and grate the carrot and finely dice the onion. In a separate bowl, you’re going to grate your two roma tomatoes to make your own tomato sauce. Slice a thin round off the bottom of each tomato. Starting at the cut end, grate tomatoes on the largest holes of a grater over the bowl until all that’s left is the flattened tomato skin and stem; discard the leftover skin and stem. (Learn more about the great reasons to grate a tomato!)
In a large pan, over high heat, drizzle olive oil (or PAM) and add the ground beef. Cook until it’s browned through and season with salt and pepper.
In a separate pan, start your sauce by adding the carrot and onion. Cook down until it’s softened. Add the garlic, oregano, chili powder, and 2 TBSP of tomato paste. Stir to ensure all the ingredients and coated with the tomato paste and well combined. Next, add in your grated “tomato sauce,” chicken stock concentrate and 1 cup of water. Bring the sauce to a boil, then simmer until the sauce has thickened (around 7 minutes). Add the ground beef and cook for another 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
(Note: The broth concentrate [as opposed to boxed or canned chicken broth] has a slightly sweeter, yet still meaty, flavor that works well in soups and sauces. It’s an easy way to build some intense flavors quickly).
Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Once the gnocchi is cooked through, spoon the pasta into the bolognese and stir to combine. Serve and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and little basil.
This delicate potato pasta is the perfect accompaniment to the bolognese as it soaks up all the rich sauce. The addition of the chili powder gave it just enough of a kick to balance out that richness while the carrot adds some natural sweetness to compete against the acidic tomatoes. Gnocchi is also a great week night pasta as it cooks so quickly. Pair it with your homemade tomato bolognese and you’ve got a meal fit for kings (and queens) any day of the week.