Gnocchi are small dumplings. they can also be made from semolina.
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
a few chopped fresh basil leaves or a pinch of dry basil
450g neck of lamb
2 397g tins Italian peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
for the gnocchi
225 plain flour
grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
Melt the margarine in a saucepan and add the onion, celery carrot and basil, stirring until the onion is tender.add the meat and season.cook for 5-10 minutes. stirring occasionally. drain the tomatoes through a sieve, removing the seeds, and add to the pan.Dilute the tomato puree with a little of the water, and pour it in,, stirring.return to the boil, add the rest of the water, cover the pan and let it simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. the sauce should be like a crusted, but not too chick,so adjust with a little boiling water if needed while cooking.
To make the Gnocchi, boil the potatoes until you can push a fork easily through them. Do not be tempted to peel the potatoes before cooking, because they will be watery, and one of the secrets of good Gnocchi is to avoid water in the potatoes. As soon as the potatoes are cooked, drain and peel them. mash them on a board while still hot, making sure you do not leave any lumps. Add the flour, making a dough which you can knead. roll out the dough, taking a piece in your hands to make a sausage shape, about 2cm thick. use flour if necessary to help with the shaping. flatten each piece and cut into sections about 4 cm long, with a slanting cut. make two small depressions with your fingers into each one, so that the Gnocchi hold their sauce better.
Leave the Gnocchi on a floured board and quickly finish the remaining dough in the same way. Have ready a large saucepan with salted water. when the sauce is cooked and the water boiling, add the Gnocchi. return to the boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time. Lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon, being careful not to break them. Put a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce into individual dishes, followed by a layer of Gnocchi, then sprinkle liberally with Parmesan cheese. For Gnocchi, grated pecorino cheese is used more than Parmesan, but its up to your preference which one you use. Make a second layer of Gnocchi in the same way,without mixing, or they might stick to each other. share the pieces of lamb on top of each portion.
To freeze Gnocchi, place them on a floured freezer- proof tray. fill the tray, then place it in the freezer for about 1/2 hour. When the Gnocchi are frozen, pop them in a freezer bag, and return to the freezer.