Gnocchi Ricci with American Lamb Ragu by Chef Jenn Louis

Gnocchi Ricci with American Lamb Ragu by Chef Jenn Louis

Makes 6 servings

February 10, 2015
Single Dough Method, Gnocchi Ricci:
4 Eggs
3-½ cups Flour
1-½ teaspoons Salt
2 Tablespoons Water (or strained pasta sauce free of any meat or vegetable)  

1.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a dough hook, combine eggs, flour and salt. Set a timer for 8 minutes and mix on medium speed. After 2 minutes dough should be shaggy. Add 2 tablespoons water. Dough should come together and become cohesive and elastic. If a bit more water is needed, add 1 teaspoon at a time.

2. 
Wrap in plastic and set aside at room temperature to rest for 1 hour.

3. 
After 1 hour, unwrap the dough and cut off a few ounces. Cover the remaining dough while forming gnocchi so that the dough does not dry out. Roll the dough into logs ½ -inch in diameter, then cut the logs into ½-inch lengths.

4. 
With your index and middle finger, drag the dough across your workspace. This will create an indented surface. With your hands, gently stretch out the dough to create a slightly larger and flatter surface.  The finished gnocchi will be slightly curly on the edges, about 1-½-inches in size and flatter in the center.


5. 
To cook, simmer in seasoned boiling water until toothy, about 3 minutes, then finish by adding and simmering in American Lamb Ragu sauce. 

American Lamb Ragu:

(Yield: 3 pints)
½ cup Olive oil
3 ounces Salumi, or cured pork, ground or chopped finely
2 pounds plus 4 ounces Ground American Lamb
1 medium Yellow onion, medium dice
2 medium Garlic cloves, sliced thinly
2 Bay leaves
½ teaspoon Chili flake
½ cup Tomato paste
¾ cup Red wine
10 cups Chicken stock Salt and pepper  

1. 
In a large pot, over medium high heat, combine olive oil, salumi and American Lamb. Cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is cooked and the bottom of the pan has caramelization. If the bottom of the pan becomes to dark, reduce heat.

2. 
Remove meat from pan, leaving about 3 tablespoons of oil in pan. Discard excess oil. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves and chili flake to pan. Sauté over medium heat until onions are translucent, not brown.

3. 
Add tomato paste and cook until the tomato caramelizes on bottom of pan.

4. 
Add wine, raise heat and bring to a simmer. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up bits of caramelization from bottom of pan. When wine has almost completely evaporated add stock. Bring to a gentle simmer and add meat back to pot.

5. 
Continue to simmer gently until meat has tenderized and sauce has become rich, about 3 hours. Do not boil; liquid should reduce gradually. If sauce becomes too thick, add ½ cup of stock to thin.
Serve American Lamb Ragu with Gnocchi Ricci.

Chef’s Notes: Gnocchi ricci means curly gnocchi and refers to the curled up sides of the dumpling. It is from the Lazio region: specifically the province of Rieti or, even more specifically, the town of Amatrice, north of Rome. This is the typical dish served on feast days or Sundays to noble families, however not often known by the people in the villages nearby.  The tradition of this gnocchi was almost forgotten and the town revived the tradition at a public workshop in 2004, as well as by dedicating a spring festival to gnocchi ricci.