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Friday 14th April 2006

Rob and Rachel’s Potato Gnocchi with my Simple Bolognese Style Sauce

You know how I said spooky things are happening to me, well Rob, Rachel and Béa spooked me again on Wednesday!

Gnocchi Bolognese Portrait

Here I was quietly planning a simple bolognese sauce with some boiled potato gnocchi to feed my family for our evening meal, little did I know Rob and Rachel were blogging gnocchi and Bea was rolling gnocchi, as I planned gnocchi… yes, that’s right all on the exact same day!

As Rob (Rachel?) quite rightly says it’s “the food blogging equivalent of going to work and finding out you’re wearing the same outfit as two other people…”

Anyway since I was planning gnocchi it made total sense to try out Rob and Rachel’s recipe.

Potato Gnocchi with Bolognese

And it’s a fantastic recipe - baking your potatoes makes all the difference. Firstly you get a drier, more airy, less gooey dough to work with. You can feel the difference rolling it. And once cooked the gnocchi are lighter and less dense than they are when you boil your potatoes - like little fluffy pillows for your bolognese to sleep on!

Here’s my simple, most probably very non-traditional bolognese sauce, still even if it’s not traditional… it’s yummy!

  • Simple Bolognese Sauce
  • olive oil
  • 600 grams of ground / minced meat, lamb, beef, veal… what have you?!
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • ½ cup of red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 6 to 8 roma tomatoes, chopped and minus the seeds, or 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cups of good beef stock
  • a pinch or two of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  1. First brown the mince with a little olive oil in batches, and I really mean BROWN the mince. It’s an important step which makes all the difference in a dish such as this. Also try not to have so much meat in the pan that it boils, you want to almost dry fry it in batches to get a nice even caramelisation.
  2. Remove the mince and gently sauté the onions, carrots, and celery until soft, return the mince to the pan and stir through the flour to coat.
  3. Mix through the tomato paste and then deglaze the pan with the red wine.
  4. Throw in a couple of bay leaves, some oregano or other herbs of your choice.
  5. Stir through the chopped tomatoes and beef stock.
  6. Cover and let the sauce simmer gently for several hours, the longer the better, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking to the bottom.
  7. Season to taste. I prefer to add my crushed garlic towards the end for a sweeter often less bitter result, but by all means, add it earlier if you desire.
  8. Fold a spoonful or two through some of Rob and Rachel’s Potato Gnocchi.
  9. Sprinkle with a little fresh herbs and some freshly grated ‘farmer john’ (I mean Parmesan) cheese if you wish. Grab a little more red vino and you’re set to go!

Potato Gnocchi with Bolognese


Filed under Meat


  1. Wow Bron, they look gorgeous!!! Yum! It was spooky indeed.
    Here are mine, since you could not see them. I will blog about them later. Hope you get luckier with Flickr this time. It sometimes is down, too much traffic maybe??
    Btw, non related, but I have a French friend who is moving back with her kiwi husband to Christchurch (from London) ;-) an another one from Paris whom I talked to today, moving back with her (also) kiwi husband, to Wellington ;-)

    Here are my Flickr pics in the meantime!

    Bea at La Tartine Gourmande — Friday 14th April 2006 2:35 pm

  2. Bron,
    This looks divine! Great tip on browning the mince.. I will definitely try that. Yet another beautiful dish from you! Thank you for visitng my blog =)


    Dianka — Saturday 15th April 2006 5:20 am

  3. You can’t see me but I’m weeping silently. I would love nothing more than a plate full of these beauties, but alas, it is Good Friday and we usually observe the practice of not eating meat.

    None of Bron’s by way of Rachel, Rob and Bea’s gnocchi with meat sauce for me.


    Ivonne — Saturday 15th April 2006 5:48 am

  4. Bron, your gnocchi look wonderful, and I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe. Your photos looks phenomenal, by the way.

    As for your bolognese, I think it’s brilliant. Great Italian food is prepared by using what’s best, not necessarily following a recipe. You’ve done just that, and I think it’s great.

    I’m very intrigued to try a bolognese made with ground lamb. The only time we normally use ground lamb is to make shepherd’s pie, so I like the switch-up. Did the meat come from your own livestock?

    rob — Saturday 15th April 2006 9:56 am

  5. Gawd … the photos just made me salivate terribly! What a fabulous combination - I love it! I call it the cosmic foodwaves. It seems to happen a lot among the food bloggers. You’ll see a few peeps all having the same inspiration and making the same thing or variations of the same. I think it’s kind of nice myself!

    MM — Tuesday 18th April 2006 10:24 pm

  6. Thanks everyone, sorry I’ve only just replied to you all.

    No Rob, the mince wasn’t from our livestock this time around, although I did make a Moroccan Rice Pilaf with our own lamb sausages a couple of days back.

    Thanks MM, “cosmic foodwaves” eh?! hehe love it!

    Didn’t mean to make you cry Ivonne, sorry about that, your Easter breads looked divine though!

    Thanks Dianka, you have a lovely blog!

    Bea, your gnocchi looked fab, unfortunately I’m not a big mushroom fan, wish I was though, however I do love the smell of them cooking.

    bron — Monday 24th April 2006 11:38 am

  7. […] On the day I made those gnocchi - now a few weeks ago - I found amusing to realize that I was not alone. Some of my favorite food bloggers scattered around the globe, from Toronto to New Zealand, were also shaping those little dumplings. I suggest that you stop by Rob’s and Bron ’s fun blogs to check their superb recipes. On top, not only will you discover great food but also words to devour. We were all connected through gnocchi. Ca, c’est de la magie culinaire! […]

    La tartine gourmande » Blog Archive » Gnocchi de pomme de terre et poêlée de champignons - Potato Gnocchi with Sautéed Mushrooms — Wednesday 10th May 2006 4:11 am

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