At the heart of Italian comfort food cooking is a recipe that embodies the warmth and richness of a good home cooked meal – Homemade Gnocchi with Short Rib Ragù. In this recipe, we'll explore the art of making delicate gnocchi from scratch and pairing them with a hearty short rib ragù. These little pillows of perfection are easy to make and are a nice alternative to pasta. The short rib ragù, rich with deep flavors and savory notes, transforms this humble dish into something comforting and indulgent.
Pasta is popular in my family, and we have some variation of a pasta dish at least once a week. But, it can get a bit repetitive so I'm always trying to make something different. My pantry must have 10 different shapes of dried pasta, and they all taste exactly the same. Gnocchi is a great alternative to pasta.
The first time making homemade gnocchi might seem like a labor-intensive task, but the process is easy and straightforward. A couple of baked potatoes, a few eggs, some flour and a little kosher salt is all you need to make this easy gnocchi recipe. Each step in this recipe is an invitation to slow down, enjoy cooking and savor the simple pleasures of a delicious, homemade meal.
This simple, but elegant dish is perfect for date night or just a cozy meal all by yourself.
- Short Rib Ragù
- Beef short ribs
- Canola oil
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Bay leaves
- Fresh rosemary
- Fresh thyme
- Fresh parsley
- Yellow onions
- All-purpose flour
- Tomato paste
- Port wine
- Red wine
- Garlic cloves
- Pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
- Russet potatoes
- Canola oil
- Kosher salt
- Egg yolk
- All-purpose flour
See Gnocchi with Short Rib Ragù recipe card for quantities.
Braise the Short Ribs
Add a little canola oil, or other vegetable oil, to a 5 quart Dutch oven over medium high heat. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and add them to the Dutch oven. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the ribs and set them aside.
Remove and discard all but one tablespoon of the rendered fat. Add the vegetables and cook over medium heat until softened.
Next, add the garlic, flour and tomato paste.
Add the port wine and stir to combine.
Assemble the herbs and put them in a cheesecloth bag. Then add the bag to the Dutch oven along with the beef stock and stir.
A little cheesecloth bag is perfect for this kind of sauce where you don't want bits of herbs in the final sauce. Just remove the bag before serving. Cheesecloth bags are easy to find online.
Add the short ribs to the Dutch oven along with enough water to just cover the ribs. Cover and bake at 325˚F for three hours. Bonus: Your kitchen will smell great!
Make the Gnocchi
While the ribs are braising, make the gnocchi.
Rub the russet potatoes with a little canola oil and season them with kosher salt. Pierce the skin several times with tines of a fork and bake the potatoes at 350°F for one hour, then remove them from the oven.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and discard the peels. Run the potatoes through a potato ricer or thoroughly mash them with a potato masher.
Move the potato mixture to a large bowl and stir in the egg yolk and then the flour.
Transfer the potato gnocchi dough to a floured work surface and kneed until it comes together.
Periodically sprinkle the mixture with additional flour as needed. The dough has enough flour when it is no longer sticky. Be careful not to add too much flour or the dough will be too dry. If thisw happens, just add a little water.
Cut the dough into four pieces with a bench scraper or knife and roll each piece into a log ½" in diameter.
Then cut the logs into bite-sized pieces, about 1" long, and lay them out in a single layer on a well-floured baking sheet.
Gently roll each piece of dough diagonally across a gnocchi board to form little dumplings. Return the gnocchi to the floured baking sheet in a single layer.
Make the Short Rib Ragù
Remove the short ribs from the Dutch oven and allow them to cool. Cut the meat off the ribs and remove any remaining fat. Also remove any fat floating in the Dutch oven.
Chop the meat and return it to the Dutch oven and simmer it over low heat for 20 - 30 minutes.
Cook the Gnocchi
Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring it to a rolling boil. Gently drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook until they float, about 2 - 3 minutes. Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and plate. Top with short rib ragù and shaved pecorino romano or parmesan cheese, or even a dollop of ricotta cheese. Enjoy!
There seems to be a lot of questions on the internet about the best potatoes to use for making fresh gnocchi. The potato gnocchi dough in this recipe was made using russet potatoes, although yukon gold potatoes could also be used. Russet potatoes have less water than yukon gold potatoes, which is great for making gnocchi. Yukon gold potatoes will have a creamier, richer flavor, but will make a softer dough and may require a little extra flour. New potatoes do not work well because the dough will just not come together.
This recipe used a potato ricer to finely mash the potatoes. It is a pretty handy tool to have in the kitchen and it makes great mashed potatoes.
Store leftover uncooked gnocchi in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Since they are uncooked, they need to be cooked in boiling water for 2-3 minutes until they float. Also store leftover short rib ragù in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a small sauce pan over medium low heat.
Use vegetable oil, not olive oil, to sear the short ribs. Olive oil has a low smoke point and is not suitable for searing meat over high heat. It will impart a taste that you just do not want.
The tender and pillowy texture of homemade gnocchi is perfect for the slow-cooked perfection of short rib ragu. This recipe is a reminder of the joy of cooking from scratch, using simple ingredients to create a dish that is both rustic and refined. Whether you're serving this to loved ones or savoring it all by yourself, this Gnocchi with Short Rib Ragù brings a touch of Italian tradition to your dining table.
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These are my favorite dishes to serve with this recipe.
Gnocchi with Short Rib Ragù
- Potato ricer
- Gnocchi board
Short Rib Ragù
- 2.5 lbs beef short ribs
- 2 tbs canola oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs rosemary fresh
- 4 sprigs thyme fresh
- 2 sprigs parsley flat leaf
- 3 carrots peeled and diced
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 shallot diced
- 1 tbs all-purpose flour
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- ¾ cup port wine
- 1 ¾ cup red wine like cabernet sauvignon
- 5 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 1 tbs pecorino romano shaved
- 3 russet potatoes large
- 1 tbs canola oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 egg yolks
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- Add oil to a 5 qt Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and add them to the Dutch oven. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10-12 minutes. Removed the ribs and set aside. Remove and discard all but 1 tbs of the rendered fat in the Dutch oven.
- Add the carrots, celery, onion and shallots and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic, flour and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Add the port and scrape up all of the brown bits on the bottom. Add the red wine and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
- Assemble the herbs in a cheesecloth bag. Add the bag and the beef stock. Stir to combine.
- Add the ribs back to the dutch oven. Add enough water to raise the liquid to near the top of the ribs. Cover and bake at 325°F for three hours.
- Rub the potatoes with a little canola oil and season with kosher salt. Bake the potatoes at 350°F for one hour.
- Remove the potatoes from the oven. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and discard the peels. Run the potatoes through a ricer or thoroughly mashed using a potato masher.
- Stir in egg yolks. Stir in the flour. Transfer the mixture to a floured cutting board and kneed. Periodically sprinkle the mixture with additional flour as needed. The dough has enough flour when it is no longer sticky.
- Cut the dough into four pieces. Roll each piece into a log ½" in diameter. Cut the logs into 1" pieces and transfer the pieces to a well-floured baking sheet.
- Gently roll each piece of dough diagonally across a gnocchi board. Return the gnocchi to the floured baking sheet.
- Remove the ribs. When cool enough to handle, cut the meat off the ribs and remove any remaining fat. Remove any fat floating in the Dutch oven. Chop the meat and return it to the Dutch oven. Simmer for 20 - 30 minutes.
- Add 2 tbs of kosher salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Gently drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook until they float, about 2 - 3 minutes. Remove the gnocchi and plate. Top with ragu and shaved pecorino romano and serve.