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Gnocchi with Bolognese Sauce

Having worked in an Italian restaurant before, I thought I could say that I know a thing or two about pastas. After tasting so the numerous shapes and sizes of pastas with just as many variety of sauces to make pasta dishes, there is still one pasta that remained elusive to me. And that seems like an itch at somewhere where you can't reach. Meet gnocchi, one of the few pasta variety that are hard to come by over at this part of the world.

Gnocchi is Italian for "dumplings" and it is made from potatoes, flour and occasionally eggs and cheese. So you can probably see that it is more potato dumpling than a pasta per se.

I have never tasted gnocchi before and I don't think I could live it down if I didn't at all. So I told myself that I would make it from scratch if it doesn't turn up ready made any time soon. But lo and behold! I spotted a few packets of it at Carrefour and one immediately went into my shopping cart.

The dumplings in the packet is not freshly made type nor is it totally dried, but semi preserved to ensure a long shelf life. It cooks pretty quickly - 2 to 3 mins in rapidly boiling water. Don't let these small cutesy dumplings deceive you for it fills up the tummy faster than it would a normal pasta of the same quantity. Paired with bolognese sauce, it is a satisfying meal.

Bolognese Sauce
(adapted from Joy of Cooking - '97 ed.)
::: What you need :::

3 tbsp olive oil
2 med carrots, peeled
1 stalk celery
1 med onion, peeled
500g ground beef
1 cup water
1 Knorr beef cube
1/3 cup red wine
1 (6oz) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup whole milk

::: Directions :::

1. Put carrots, celery and onion into a food processor and chop roughly.
2. Heat saucepan with olive oil and empty the chopped vegetables into the saucepan and saute until the onions are translucent.
3. Add ground beef and brown.
4. Stir in water, beef cube, red wine and tomato sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the sauce is the consistency of a thick soup, about 2 hours. During simmering, from time to time, add 2 tbsp of milk at a time.


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