The gnocchi can be made ahead of time and frozen, but is best kept for only a week or two. I also like to serve the gnocchi with a simple fresh tomato and basil sauce in the summer. The hearty ragù works with all sorts of meats - chicken, oxtail, rabbit, pork or duck. Freshen it up by grating fresh lemon rind over the top as you're serving.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
400g beef mince
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup tomato paste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
6 cups chicken stock
freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve
700g Bintje potatoes
1 1/2 cups plain flour, plus more for kneading
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp sea salt
For the ragu, heat a heavy-based frying pan over a medium-low heat, then add the oil. Add the onion, garlic, 1 tbsp parsley and bay leaf, and cook gently until softened, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Turn the heat to medium and add the beef, stirring until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, sugar, salt and stock, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours or until tender and thick.
For the gnocchi, wash the potatoes and place them in a large pot. Cover with cold salted water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 25 minutes.
Drain the cooked potatoes in a colander and let them cool enough so you can handle them. Remove skins, and leave skinned potatoes to sit for 10 minutes more so that any remaining moisture evaporates.
Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer onto a clean bench, add sifted flour and make a well, then add the eggs and salt. Using your hands, gently mix until just combined. Using the back of your hand, push the potato and flour mix until it starts to come together.
Divide the dough into 4 portions. Roll each portion into a thin log. Using a knife, cut the logs into 2cm pillows.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add a good handful of salt. Cook the gnocchi in batches for 2 minutes or until the gnocchi floats to the surface. Using a perforated spoon or spider, share the gnocchi between 6 bowls and spoon the ragù over the top. Sprinkle with remaining chopped parsley and serve with freshly grated parmesan.
SOMETHING TO DRINK
Hailing from New Zealand's Awatere Valley, a sub region of the Marlborough district, the 2011 Vavasour Pinot Noir ($29) is grown from vines planted in 1985. Its spicy notes and layers of rich fruit, balancing fine acidity and soft tannins, make it a great match with the gnocchi.