Ricotta Gnocchi with Bolognese Sauce

September 09, 2010

Ricotta Gnocchi with Bolognese Sauce

This recipe, stolen from Chef Eric Young of Scoozi! Restaurant, Chicago is a warming bowl full of delicious Italian gnocchi made with rich Ricotta cheese and adorned by Eric’s Bolognese sauce – every chef in an Italian restaurant has their own closely guarded Bolognese recipe and we’re sharing Eric’s with you to try at home – until you can make it to the Windy City to try it for yourself from his busy kitchen.

For over twenty years Scoozi! has fed Chicago and the menu features seasonal, fresh-tasting creations from all over Italy: from Sicily to the Austrian border and everything in between. This big, open-spaced restaurant features brick-oven pizzas and pastas imported from Italy or made fresh and with over 30 wines by the glass, as well as Italian specialty cocktails and cordials made in-house from fresh fruit there’s something for everyone at the bar.

About the chef: since his childhood on the North side of Chicago, Eric has always been passionate about food. The thought of working in restaurants, however, was nothing more than a pipe dream for this 29 year old technology manager, but Eric’s boredom mixed with his passion for food set a career change in motion. Eric began taking part-time classes and was fortunate enough to be enrolled in classes taught by Chef Michael Lachowicz - it wasn’t long before he realized this was the career choice for him.

After one semester, he quit his long time job, enrolled full time at Kendall College and began working for Chef Lachowicz at his newly opened restaurant, Michael. After working for months under the tutelage of Chef Lachowicz, Eric took an internship at Follia, where he began to cultivate his knowledge of Italian cuisine. He graduated in the top of his class and received the Albert R. Furbay award for culinary excellence.

Upon completing his studies, Eric came across a job at Scoozi!, where he was eager to work on his development in a high volume setting and after several months Eric was approached and asked to take on the job as Chef of the twenty one year old Chicago dining staple. Eager to take on a new challenge, Eric accepted and began working on helping to take the cuisine at Scoozi! to a new standard.

Chicago, River North
410 W. Huron
Chicago, IL
312 943 5900

Potato and Ricotta Gnocchi with Bolognese Sauce is served at Scoozi for $13.50.
This recipe makes 6 restaurant servings.

Potato and Ricotta Gnocchi Ingredients:
1 lb Yukon gold potatoes
1 lb Ricotta cheese
5 Egg yolks
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
6 oz All purpose flour – by weight – plus more for dusting
1.5 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Bolognese Sauce Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ Onion small dice
2 Stalks celery small dice
1 Carrot small dice
1 Bay leaf
2 lb Ground beef
2 lb Ground pork
¼ Cup red wine
½ Cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
½ Teaspoon black pepper
1 Cup tomato puree
1 Tablespoon tomato paste

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions For the Bolognese Sauce:
Heat olive oil in large sauté pan until just beginning to smoke
Add pork and beef and sauté until golden brown and cooked through. Break large chunks with a wooden spoon.
Remove cooked meat with a slotted spoon and pour off all but 1 TB of liquid left behind.
Return pan to heat and when it just begins to smoke add vegetables and sauté until golden brown.
Remove vegetables from pan and pour off remaining liquid.
Return pan to heat and add red wine, scraping bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking wine until it reduces to a syrupy consistency.
Add chicken stock, tomato sauce, and tomato paste to pan and bring to a simmer.
Add meat and vegetables and 1 Bay leaf to pan and return to a simmer.
Reduce heat to medium and let mixture slowly simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until liquid has reduced to a sauce like consistency.
Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions For the Gnocchi and For Plating:

Peel the potatoes and simmer until they can be easily pierced with a small knife.
Remove the potatoes from water and let them cool for 5 minutes.
While still warm, pass the potatoes through a ricer and let cool for 5 minutes more.
Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl, mix ricotta, egg yolks, salt, pepper, and grated parmesan. (If the ricotta is too soft or watery, line a colander with cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Set the bowl in the refrigerator and let it drain for 1 hour.)
Add the potato to the ricotta mixture and gently mix by hand. Be careful not to over work.
Add the flour in two portions, mixing by hand and being careful not to over work.
Let the dough rest for 1 hour before portioning.
When ready, dust a clean work surface with flour and divide the dough into 4 portions. Gently roll the dough from the center outwards, stretching to create one long rope-like piece. The dough should be about ½ - ¾’ thick.
With a bench scraper, cut the gnocchi into individual pieces approximately 1 inch long.
Remove gnocchi to a baking tray dusted with flour.
To cook, bring 2 quarts water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. 
Add 8 – 10 pieces of gnocchi and cook until all the gnocchi begin to float.
Warm 3 – 4 oz Bolognese sauce in a sauté pan.
Quickly remove from boiling water and add gnocchi to the pan with warm Bolognese sauce. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

The following nutritional analysis is based on an approximate 6 oz. serving at home.

Nutrient Name Nutrient Value Unit Daily Value %
Calories 320     
Calories from Fat 180     
Total Fat 20  g   31% 
Saturated Fat 8  g   40% 
Trans Fat 0  g    
Cholesterol 120  mg   40% 
Sodium 780  mg   32% 
Carbohydrates 13  g   4% 
Dietary Fiber 1  g   4% 
Sugars 1  g    
Protein 20  g    
Vitamin A   IU   10% 
Vitamin C   mg   6% 
Calcium   mg   8% 
Iron   mg   10%